Saudi Arabia is obviously characterized by climatic patterns ideal for the effective functioning of solar technology and a profitable non-hydrocarbon industry. Such patterns include high intensity solar radiation for almost the entire year, and considerable annual sunshine durations.
Consider, daily global solar radiation on horizontal surfaces reaches an average of 5.5 kW/m2, with several provinces receiving up to 7 kW/m2. Furthermore, average annual sunshine duration in the Kingdom is around 2,500 hours.
In addition to these climatic blessings, it is also important to note that nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s territorial surface is uninhabited, which is convenient for large-scale, yet unobtrusive solar installations. One must consider, however, that the most most intensively insolated regions in the Kingdom are also the most densely populated.
With summer temperatures easily exceeding 40-45 degrees Celsius and relative air humidity being tremendously low, Saudi Arabia enjoys the scarcity of hindering aerosol coalescence. As a result, it has been estimated that, with the appropriate technology, only a small fraction of Saudi Arabia’s total area is necessary to adequately supply the whole of society with solar energy.
These characteristics are essential for discussing the general implementation of solar technology, but are not necessarily convincing in defining the true nature of commercial opportunity in Saudi Arabia for the international solar industry. These geographical and climatic conditions and statistics are rather superficial, overarching considerations. They are not necessarily unique to Saudi Arabia, nor do they specifically distinguish it from other warm regions contemplating the implementation of PV. These factors, therefore, do not shed light on why especially the Peninsula, in current time, bears such great economic opportunity for the international solar industry.
The essential and underlying drivers of the market opportunity KSA’s economy offers, are to be found elsewhere.
Our upcoming blog entry will fully elucidate our perspective on the issue. Bear with us.