Prospects of large-scale photovoltaic-based power plants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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The techno-economic analyses of 67 MW and 144 MW photovoltaics (PV) power plants are performed and the results are compared with the diesel power plants situated in two cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The feasibility analysis is conducted with the aim to show the technical and economic viability of replacing the conventional fossil fuel-based plants with clean production systems in the country. The production capacity of the proposed PV plants based on the single-axis tracking configuration is around 35% higher than that of the tilted-fixed configuration, equivalent to a reduction in the production cost by more than 20% for both the plants. PV plants with a tracking system can produce up to 23% excess electricity than the base-case diesel plants. Moreover, the production costs at the Bisha plant can be as low as 1.77 (sic)/kWh, considering the credit resulting from the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The feasibility of installing a 144 MW PV plant in six cities in the country is also evaluated. The results indicate that the average cost of electricity production is 2.22 (sic)/kWh and the average annual reduction of GHG emissions is 462 tCO(2)/GWh with the replacement of a diesel power plant of similar capacity. The effects of subsidies, feed-in tariff rates, and electricity export escalation rates are also evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2021


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