Saudi Arabia inaugurated its first solar power station on Sunday. It is located on Farasan Island and will produce 864,000 kilowatts.
The station, which contains 6,000 solar cells, was built by government-owned utility Saudi Electricity (SECO) and Showa Shell Sekiyu, a Japanese energy company partly owned by Saudi Arabian Oil.
Ali bin Salih al-Barak, executive head of SECO, said that the project is the beginning of a new era for the production of solar energy in the kingdom.
He also said that there will be constant coordination between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and the King Abdullah City for Renewable and Nuclear Energy to advance the best ways to invest in the production of solar power.
Deputy head of the Jizan region, Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Swaid, said that the island was chosen because it lacked connection to the general electricity grid and that providing power to the area’s population consumed a large amount of oil.
Farasan is located southeast of the Red Sea, 40 kilometers from Jizan City.
The solar power station has been connected to the Jizan region’s power grid.
According to the Saudi-based Arab News, Showa Shell will own the project for as many as 15 years, after which the assets will be transferred to SECO. Royal Dutch Shell owns one-third of Showa Shell, while Saudi Aramco holds about 15 percent.