On May 16, the most influential actors in the Saudi Arabian solar sector met for the first time to discuss current projects and further measures to expand solar energy in Saudi Arabia. Representatives of Saudi Arabian government authorities, leading companies and research institutions decided to establish a solar taskforce which will serve as an interactive communication platform and as a representation of interests. Saudi Aramco, one of the world´s largest oil corporations, will assume a leading role.

The first national “Solar Communication and Coordination Workshop” was hosted by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The university was founded in 2009 as the showpiece of the Kingdom´s engagement in renewable energies.

Apricum, a strategic consultancy specialized in renewable energies initiated and conceptualized the conference. Apricum´s Managing Partner Nikolai Dobrott comments on the motivation: “Saudi Arabia with its enormous solar irradiation and its high financial resources is in an ideal position to establish large-scale solar projects. The Kingdom can take advantage from selling its precious oil on the world market rather than using it for highly subsidized energy production for its national use. Already today solar electricity is a competitive alternative. There are many initiatives in the country already in progress. What is missing is an exchange between the various actors and a central point of coordination/steering. We designed the workshop to specifically address these topics. “

More than 150 representatives of the Saudi Arabian industry, government and research institutions that have a significant influence on the development of solar energy in the country followed the invitation and met on May, 16, 2010. Among them were high-ranking government officials and officers of the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority ECRA, as well as executives of the leading companies and universities active in the Saudi Arabian solar sector.

Special attention was paid to the contribution of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. The newly founded authority is to play a key role in establishing the necessary legal framework for solar projects. Dr. Khaled Al-Sulaiman affirmed the engagement of the Saudi Arabian government: “Renewable energies […] will be a part of the energy mix [of this country] in the near future.“

One of the essential results of this conference is the establishment of a solar task force that will actively pursue the future development of the sector. The task force furthermore serves as the predecessor of a national solar association. Its members will be nominated within the next weeks. Oil producer Saudi Aramco will play a leading role. The company has already announced to be hosting the next solar conference at its headquarters at the beginning of October 2010.

Apricum is a strategic management consultancy specialized in renewable energies and has been accompanying the establishing process of solar energy in Saudi Arabia for years through its consulting projects for companies and public institutions.

From May 29-31 Apricum will join a business delegation to Saudi Arabia. The trip is organized by the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad.

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