At a gala event in Riyadh yesterday featuring 1,000 local and international delegates, K.A.CARE launched an online service which maps the solar energy resources of the Kingdom. This data will help reduce the solar irradiance risk and uncertainty faced by developers and investors.
With the added assurance provided by these ground-based stations, bidders will be able to offer lower tariffs in the forthcoming tender rounds, thus saving the Saudi treasury money. According to National Solar Systems, a US1 cent increase in tariff would cost the Saudi treasury over $370 million per 1 GW installed.
On the sideline of this conference, a very senior K.A.CARE official confirmed to MESIA that the initial procurement round will be launched before the beginning of Ramadan in 2014 (28 June). The first set of projects will be on an EPC basis, with IPP project to follow in the next round. Although the details have not yet been finalized, K.A.CARE hopes to unveil a detailed near and medium term procurement plan in the spring of 2014. He agreed that failure to do so would be highly damaging to his organization and he indicated that the leadership of K.A.CARE is working very hard to achieve that target.
The Renewable Resource Atlas consists of a web portal with general information on renewable resources and a mapping interface which allows graphing and downloading of datasets. The Atlas currently contains extensive information on solar resources plus some limited information on wind resources.
The solar resource and meteorological data come primarily from a newly launched network of 70 ground-based monitoring stations around the Kingdom. This network is expected to rise to 120 stations by end 2014. Data for selected stations and time periods from a historical solar resource monitoring network operated by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) are also included in the Historical Comparisons tab in the graphing interface. As a result, K.A.CARE already has irradiance data for over a 12 month period at some locations. Additional datasets within the Atlas, such as roads and the electric grid, help provide context for the resource data.
Online visitors must first request a log-in from K.A.CARE to view any data beyond annual averages, and to download or graph data. All datasets currently are provided free of charge through mid-2014, after which payment may be required for some data and users.
The Atlas will support the mission of K.A.CARE towards its target of renewable energy supplying 50% of the Kingdom’s energy needs by 2032, of which solar energy would represent roughly 25%.
President of MESIA & Head of Strategic Advisory at Access