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Solar Energy


The Importance of Solar Energy in Today’s Life

Solar energy is an important advance in the effort to save the environment. Perhaps the most easily usable and most convenient of the renewable energy sources (which also include wind and water), solar energy has been used since the beginning of time as a heating source. In the 1830’s one of the other solar energy platforms was developed, as a solar energy cooker was used on a safari. Since then, many other solar energy applications have been formulated, and almost everyone can take advantage of one of these.

One of the most common of the solar energy application is to use it as a power source. Since the 1970’s, many people have been putting solar collectors on their roofs and using the resulting collected power to run their households. While having enough solar collectors to obtain power that will run an entire house may not be common, it is becoming more so. Most of these types of solar powered homes run their appliances and other needs directly off the solar collectors’ power during the day, and use power that was stored from the solar cells in batteries at night. In this way, the homeowner can avoid ever having to use power that was generated by a non-renewable resource.

In the last 10 to 15 years, solar manufacturers have started to develop new, creative applications for solar power. One development is the portable solar panel, a popular product used on recreational vehicles by vacationers. On a smaller scale, there are solar panel packs that fold out like a small ledger and are used to power up anything from laptops to cell phones. As time passes, new products along this line are expected to continue to come on the market.

It doesn’t matter which of the solar energy applications you choose to implement in your own home or life – even a small change to solar power over traditional power sources can help the environment. The more we can use solar energy, the less dependent we become on non-renewable resources, and the more we help the Earth.

Sunlight falling in Saudi Arabia

The Sun in Saudi Arabia emits about 7,000 watts of energy per square meter over an average of 12 hours, every day. SOLAR FOR SAUDI ARABIA.

Development of renewable energies that the Kingdom is currently been developing. This oil rich country is working towards the greater and wider use of Solar Energy. KSA were among the countries participants in the World Solar Programme initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization –UNESCO.

Main Solar Projects in Saudi Arabia

Conergy’s 2MW rooftop PV system at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

 Several countries like Germany and USA were aggressively trying to add solar power to the grid and  Saudi Arabia is giving both of them a run for their money with recent plans to enter the solar market. The country is looking for investors in a $109 billion plan to build 41 GW of solar and a sustainable solar industry. In order to avoid this fate Saudi Arabia is seeking investors to back its plan to create a solar sector capable of providing 30 percent of its electricity by 2032.Saudi Arabia has some of the best solar insolation in the world, meaning it gets lots of sunlight. GTM Research estimates that the country would have to cover about 0.1% of its landmass to match its power needs, so as solar costs fall the energy source becomes very attractive.

Currently the Middle Eastern nation only boasts 3 megawatts of solar power, less than Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.

Second, the country generates most of its power from oil, which is costly. According to the Solar Energy Industries Alliance, the Saudis sell oil to power plants for $4 per barrel, versus the $100 it can get on the open market.

If the country can displace some of the electricity produced from oil with electricity produced from solar power, it would be a great move economically. According to reports, government officials will roll out a competitive bidding process for 1.1 GW of PV and 900 MW of concentrating solar power in early 2013, so the expansion is coming quickly.

Positioning itself to become one of the largest solar markets globally, the governments King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) has announced Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to install 41 gigawatts (GW) worth of solar by 2032.

KA-CARE announced its plans to turn Saudi Arabia into “the Kingdom of Sustainable Energy” at the Saudi Solar Energy Forum in Riyadh, “The main objectives of the program are a reduction in oil burned for power production as well as the establishment of a local solar industry and the creation of jobs.” According to Apricum. 

Maher al- Odan, a consultant at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-care), the plan involves developing 41,000 megawatts of solar power within two decades. 25,000 MW will be from solar thermal plants, using huge heliostatic mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays onto a central tower that heats a fluid to drives a turbine; and 16,000 MW will be in the form of photovoltaic panels. 

Al-Odan states, “we are not only looking for building solar plants. We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.” 

Khalid al-Suliman, vice president of Ka-care, said that an extra 21,000 megawatts of power will be added in the form of nuclear, wind, and geothermal. 

Saudi Arabia hope that their ambitious plans will help them to reduce their domestic oil consumption by as much as 523,000 barrels a day over the next 20 years. 

Logan Goldie-Scot, an analyst at New Energy Finance in London, said that, “the Saudi Arabian government has a powerful incentive to diversify its energy mix to reduce dependence on oil. The state could generate an internal rate of return of approximately 12 percent if it built a PV plant and sold the displaced oil on the international markets.”

Solar Projects in KSA

Worlds Biggest Solar Power Plant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Largest solar thermal power plant in the world newly opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The new plant is approximately twice the greater size of the previous biggest solar thermal facility which is situated in Denmark, This solar thermal plant will produce enough power to heat water for the University of 40,000 students. GREENTec ONE, Austria, a solar design company provided solar panels for the project.

388 000 square feet (36,000 m) ceiling system is the size of five football fields and built at cost of $ 14 million. This project is also told that the Middle East, which are fossil fuel rich countries, is now planning for post-oil future.

Ample sun in Saudi Arabia, the solar panel are huge which allow this project to run. Each of these has an area of ​​107 square feet (10 square meters) and weighs 375 pounds (170 kilos). The panels has a transparent coating to improve performance, also require a special mounting system to hold them bolted to the roof, when Saudi Arabia’s sandstorms hit Riyadh

Saudi Arabia targets 41GW of solar installations by 2032

Saudi Arabia has high levels of solar irradiance and huge areas of desert but is only just beginning to take advantage of them for solar power.

Representatives from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), the government body directing alternative energy development, have announced the country’s ambitious long-term goals for solar power. The oil-rich kingdom aims to have installed 41GW of concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar PV projects by 2032, 25GW and 16GW respectively.

If the plans come to fruition, Saudi Arabia will become one of the world’s largest solar power producers.

Fossil Fuel vs. Fossil Energy

What is Fossil Fuel?

Nearly 70% of electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the energy sources that have satisfied man’s energy needs for countless years. As a result, electricity accounts for 40% of global energy related CO2 emissions; these emissions will grow by 58% globally by 2030 unless new policy measures are introduced.

In a survey, by the Energy Information Administration’, it was seen, that out of the total fuel consumed world over is 89% was fossil fuel. This underlines the amount of dependence the world has on the fossil fuels. 

About 87% of electricity created in the world, comes from coal burning. Coal burning, followed by crude oil and natural gas, is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emission in the world.

Inhaling Carbon monoxide is poisonous  due to its toxic gas. CO2 is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect. Exposures at 100 ppm (parts-per notation) or greater can be dangerous to human health.

According to the International Energy Agency  estimates,  in 2010 Saudi Arabia is among the top ten list  emitting countries with 493,726 in thousands of CO2 metric tons .  Topping in the list is China.

There are many projects and research that need to look for a renewable energy alternative to replace them.

What is Fossil Energy?

Photograph: David McNew/Getty

In Middle East, some countries like Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Egypt are looking for efficient use of the oil and gas industries. The production and export of fossil fuels has played an important role in this particular regions for decades. And the region’s reliance on oil and natural gas revenues will continue through the middle of the 21st century.

In order to look for a renewable energy alternative they instead come up into how to reduce CO2 emissions and gain from more efficient use of fossil energy resources.

Siemens, the leading electronics and electrical engineering company in the world, offers leading-edge solutions for onshore and offshore applications in the oil and gas industries, including extraction, separation, gathering and treatment of crude oil and natural gas, enhanced oil recovery and post-separation treatment.  “With our energy-efficient products and solutions we are helping our customers improve their business performance, reduce lifecycle costs, and cut their CO2 emissions,” according to their website.

The oil company Saudi Aramco, for example, has been using the XHQ real-time operations intelligence platform for years. It allows Aramco to optimize production processes and improve business procedures. And at the beginning of 2011, Siemens and Saudi Aramco agreed to strengthen their cooperation for efficient use of fossil energy resources in Saudi Arabia. The cooperation covers low-emissions gas turbines, high-efficiency steam turbines, compressors, and blowers – and grants Saudi Aramco improved access to Siemens Oil & Gas Division’s rotating equipment and services.

A further example of efficiency in the use of fossil energy resources in the Middle East is the extension of its oil removal product and service offering in Saudi Arabia. For this, Siemens and MyCelx Technologies, a revolutionary oil-free water technology company solving the world’s toughest oil removal problems in the oil and gas industry  have reached an exclusive distributorship and service agreement that allows for the economical recycling of large volumes of water used in the petrochemical and oil and gas industries.

In Abu Dhabi, Siemens erected the Shuweihat combined power and desalination plant. The turnkey project can generate approximately 5,000 megawatts of electricity and 1.4 million cubic meters of drinking water daily – an important amount in a country where water is very scarce and precious. In Egypt, Siemens provides components and systems for three power plants. Each turbine can generate an additional 25 megawatts (MW) while reducing NOx emissions (nitrogen oxides) by more than 30 percent per turbine. In Oman, the two 750-megawatt plants Barka 3 and Sohar 2 will set new benchmarks of efficiency thanks to their state-of-the-art technology.

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants offer even greater energy efficiency. They convert fuel into electrical energy and heat at the same time, usually in the form of steam and hot water. These plants have a fuel efficiency of more than 90 percent, considerably minimizing nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions.

However, there would be a need for a concerted effort among rich oil nations and perhaps the whole nations around the world to come up other means to this energy crisis  that faces our generations in the future. The byproduct of voracious energy consumption is a global warming and this phenomenon will make the future world an even more hostile place to live in.  Perhaps eradicating is not the accurate answer  of the seriousness of the situation,  it is time for us to look for alternatives of fossil fuels which are eco-friendly, non-polluting and renewable.



Above summarized articles are compilation taken from various web sites in the internet that tackles Solar Energy in the Middle East and more particularly from Saudi Arabia’s solar perspective.   

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