Tokyo, June 6, 2011, Saudi Electricity Company and Showa Shell Sekiyu have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a 500kW solar power plant on Farasan Island using Solar Frontier’s leading edge CIS technology. Showa Shell Sekiyu subsidiary, Solar Frontier, completed the installation of its PV solar panels on the Saudi Arabia island and will soon commence production at the pilot plant. The project has the support of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Technology, and Industry (METI). This is the first plant in the Kingdom that is remotely installed and grid connected. It will displace 28,000 barrels of diesel during its life span, which will reduce the cost of diesel transport and handling while protecting the natural reserves of the island. The site is located at the Farasan Diesel Power Generation Plant of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).
“The completion of this pilot plant paves the way for intensive collaboration on solar initiatives between Showa Shell Sekiyu, Solar Frontier, and leaders in both Saudi Arabian and Japanese government and industry,” said Atsuhiko Hirano, Solar Frontier’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Power Generation. “Our soon-to-be established office in Saudi Arabia will work closely with SEC as the plant comes on line and will serve as our hub for expanding development projects in Saudi Arabia going forward.”
Solar Frontier’s proprietary CIS technology advantages in desert climates include a lower temperature coefficient compared to crystalline silicon (meaning a smaller loss in conversion efficiency as temperatures increase), a strong frame reinforcement that is tapered to resist sand and dust accumulation, and durable construction assured by high quality Japanese manufacturing. Moreover, while Solar Frontier commercialized its solar panels on the extremely space-constrained residential rooftops of Japan, its CIS technology has significant advantages in geographies where space is less critical.
Other Solar Frontier solar module installations in Saudi Arabia include the 10kW King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) installation in operation since 2009 and the 10MW “North Park Project.”
“We estimate that the annual output of the Farasan plant will be 864,000kWh,” said Ali Al-Barrak, SEC President and CEO, “and our work with Solar Frontier gives us great confidence in the potential of solar energy in the SEC energy resource mix.”
When the plant comes on line in July, 2011, SEC will be responsible for operation and maintenance, while Solar Frontier will provide continuous technical support through its newly established Saudi Arabia Office. METI and Showa Shell Sekiyu cooperated to promote Japan’s advanced technology in the Middle East.
Source: Solar Frontier