Sun-tracking tech to improve Saudi solar farm energy yield by 20 pct: CCO

Technology that enables solar panels to follow the path of the sun will improve the energy yield of the Sudair Solar plant in Saudi Arabia by around 20 percent, the chief commercial officer of the company behind it told Al Arabiya English.

Nextracker’s technology was invented in 2014 and will be rolled out across the under-construction Sudair Solar plant, which is due to be one of the biggest in the world.

The company is also developing robots that will be used to clean the solar panels automatically.

“We’re excited to be a part of the renewable vision of Saudi Arabia,” chief commercial officer Marco Garcia told Al Arabiya English.

“The Kingdom has declared they want to have 50 percent of their energy portfolio come from renewables by 2030 and 100 percent by 2060.”

“We fully support that, and these first utility-scale solar projects are important early steps to start to achieve those goals.”

Nextracker is also installing bifacial technology at the plant, which allows solar panels to capture energy from sunlight reflected off the ground.

Sudair Power plant is expected to power 185,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 2.9 tons annually, according to a media statement from Nextracker.

The project is being developed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia through its subsidiary Badeel/WEHC, Saudi Aramco, and ACWA Power.

The sun trackers are built completely out of Saudi-produced steel, Garcia said, a particular point of pride for the company.

In 2021, Nextracker exported more than 20,000 tons of Saudi steel valued at more than $30 million (SR112.5 million) to install trackers at new solar plants in numerous countries including the US.

The Sudair Solar project is being developed in line with Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP) that aims to achieve 58.7GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

It is being developed on a 30-square-kilometer site southeast of Al Majmahh in Riyadh Province.

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