Saudi Arabia blazes a trail on solar power
13 Sep 2012

One of the world’s biggest oil producers and consumers has launched a renewable energy programme that may make Riyadh the new global hub for clean power, Vahid Fotuhi writes

In 2010, Saudi Arabia made a huge splash on the international stage when Ali Al Naimi, the oil minister, announced that “Saudi Arabia aspires to export as much solar energy in the future as it exports oil now”.

Observers were not impressed. They claimed it was simply not realistic. To achieve this, Saudi Arabia would need to produce and export as much as half the world’s total annual installed capacity of solar energy. It could never happen. Or could it?
Less than two years later, the kingdom has hit back at its critics by launching the most ambitious solar programme the world has ever seen.