The procurement program will include both PV and CSP technologies.
The Saudi Arabia Solar Industries Association (SASIA, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) has released its comments on the nation’s plans to procure solar generation as outlined in the recent King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) white paper.
SASIA provided a number of suggestions, including limiting job localization requirements but increasing the consideration for local content, a review of technology mixes before future rounds, and setting stricter qualifications for developers.
In February 2013, K.A.CARE released a white paper, “Proposed Competitive Procurement Process for the Renewable Energy Program”, which calls for 41 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) projects by 2032.
These and other renewable energy projects will be awarded through three rounds of a competitive solicitation process, with the solar projects alone representing an estimated USD 60 billion investment. The white paper set out draft plans for procurement, suggesting policy details in a number of areas including local labor requirements and bidding and power purchase agreement (PPA) details.
K.A. CARE states that the requirement that jobs through the program be localized after 2 years would be a deterrent to project development, due to the phasing of workers and the fine of SAR 40,000 (USD 11,000) per person. Instead, it recommends a 20% localization of human resources for initial rounds.
However, it also states that plans to offer a bid premium up to 30% for criteria other than price is too low, and that local content alone should get at least 35% of the premium, to allow Saudi manufacturers to compete with inexpensive Chinese PV products.
SASIA states that as proposed the initial round of the program will not help the development of competitive manufacturing sectors in Saudi Arabia
The organization notes that local manufacturing needs visibility of several years instead of annual procurement rounds, and recommends that both thin film and crystalline silicon PV should receive enough scale in the solicitation to build competitive manufacturing plants.
SASIA also calls for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) and linear Fresnel CSP to be included among eligible technologies.
Finally, the organization made a number of recommendations regarding the power purchase agreements (PPAs), support for obtaining rights-of-way and permitting, greater information for developers and timing of bids.