Aramco, Soitec to build Saudi CPV

Global petrochemical giant Saudi Aramco has signed a deal with Saudi Arabian investment outfit Khaled Juffali and French semiconductor specialist Soitec to build a 1MW concentrating PV (CPV) demonstration project in the northwest Tabuk region.

Saudi Aramco aims to use the pilot to assess the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of the technology for future utility-scale installations.

Contractor Belectric will develop the Tarbuk project based on Soitec’s CPV technology. 

Soitec's CPV modules uses a durable glass-glass design and Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells. The system has dual-axis tracking and zero-water passive cooling technology tailored to clear-sky desert locations including the Middle East.

The Tarbuk project marks the first contract for  Khaled Juffali and Soitec since the two signed a joint agreement in April to cooperate on developing CPV business in the region.

“Being successful in winning this project with Soitec lays the groundwork for some additional very exciting projects as we establish a baseline of support for developing a solar-energy market in Saudi Arabia," says Khaled Juffali chairman Sheik Khaled Juffali.

Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec's solar division, adds: “This proof of confidence by the largest worldwide oil producer confirms Soitec’s leading-edge technology and is further evidence of our company’s technological and business innovations.”

Saudi Arabia’s government estimates that demand for electricity in the Kingdom will eclipse 120GW by 2032. 

KA CARE, the institution set up by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to fast-track a national renewable-energy policy, calculates solar energy could account for 41GW of the country’s installed capacity by then.