Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the King ‘Abd al-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) have signed a memorandum of cooperation for construction of the kingdom’s first large solar power plant. The 50MW plant will be built at Layla, 330km south of Riyadh in Aflaj province. SEC chairman Salih al-Awaji says Aflaj will be the first Saudi province to benefit from utility-scale clean energy.

Mr Awaji says that work on the project will start shortly and that the company has plans for “many similar projects” to be developed in the coming years. He says the project is one outcome of a decision last year by the SEC board to “rationalize the use of fossil fuels and raise the efficiency of its power plants” by converting gas-fired plants from open to combined cycle and providing opportunities for investment in renewables. (CONTINUED - 398 WORDS)