1 MW project with world’s largest oil producer aims to test CPV technology for future utility-scale installations; lays solid groundwork for new solar projects in Saudi Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Bernin, France, June 12, 2013 — Partners Khaled Juffali Company (KJC), a Saudi Arabian investment company, and Soitec, a world leader in semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, have announced that the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), a global petroleum and chemicals company owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has decided to use Soitec’s concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology for a 1-megawatt solar-energy pilot plant in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern Tabuk region. This project with the world’s largest oil producer is the first business win for KJC and Soitec since the two companies signed a joint agreement in April to cooperate in driving solar-industry growth in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Following a competitive tender process and a rigorous evaluation of various equipment suppliers, the oil and chemical giant selected Soitec’s CPV technology based on its perfect fit with the region. Saudi Aramco’s two-fold objective for this project is to successfully complete the work on schedule while testing the performance of CPV technology to better assess its levelized cost of energy (LCOE) advantage for future utility-scale installations.
“This win is a major breakthrough in the solar market and a great testimony to the ability of Soitec’s highly performing solar technology to deliver the highest competitive advantage under desert conditions,” said Sheik Khaled Juffali, founder and chairman of KJC. “Being successful in winning this project with Soitec lays the groundwork for some additional very exciting projects as we establish a baseline of support for developing a solar-energy market in Saudi Arabia.”
“We have made dedicated efforts in recent months to position ourselves in Saudi Arabia and to bring to the country a strong offering. We are very proud to have been selected in this first CPV tender and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation with Aramco,” said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec Solar Division. “This proof of confidence by the largest worldwide oil producer confirms Soitec’s leading-edge technology and is further evidence of our company’s technological and business innovations.”
BELECTRIC Saudi Arabia LLC, a worldwide leader in the development and construction of utility-scale solar power plants, has developed the project based on Soitec’s technology and will build the plant. BELECTRIC has connected more than a gigawatt of utility-scale solar power plants worldwide. The company has proven its expertise and capabilities in Saudi Arabia, having built the country’s largest solar power plant at Saudi Aramco’s headquarters.
CPV technology is designed for high performance in sunny regions such as Saudi Arabia, delivering practically constant power output during the day at high ambient temperatures. It is the most efficient technology in the photovoltaic industry, achieving current energy-generating efficiencies of 30 percent – approximately twice that of conventional photovoltaic technologies. Soitec’s proven technology advantages are based on a strong company history of manufacturing innovative products of the highest quality. The technology is based on decades of research by the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg, Germany, more than six years of industrial implementation, installations in 18 countries worldwide and a current pipeline of hundreds of megawatts. Soitec’s robust CPV modules incorporate a durable glass-glass design and Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells. Additionally, the company’s systems use dual-axis tracking and achieve passive cooling without water consumption, offering competitive advantages in dry and clear-sky locations including the Middle East.
At the beginning of this year, Soitec installed a CPV demonstration system on the Medina College of Technology’s (MCT) campus in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The installation has served as a platform for applied research and training projects concerning solar energy in the Middle East as well as CPV performance in sunny, hot and arid conditions. With this demonstration system and others in six other countries throughout the MENA region, Soitec has been able to showcase specific design advantages for Saudi Arabia’s climate including modules that do not suffer measurable degradation over time; glass and UV-stable silicone lenses that are resistant to aging, even in extreme conditions; solar cells with useful lifetimes of 30+ years (space-proven); tracker tables with the height and stowing position to withstand sand storms; and systems with high ground clearance to reduce exposure to sand.
Saudi Arabia’s government estimates that demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia should exceed 120 GW in 20 years. To meet this growing need, the Kingdom intends to introduce a significant amount of alternative sources into its energy mix. According to K.A. CARE, the institution established by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to implement the national renewable-energy policy, solar energy will account for 41 GW of the country’s installed capacity by 2032.
Khaled Juffali Company (KJC) is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and partners with regional businesses across the Middle East. The company partners with international brands and technology providers to build and grow businesses that are retained for the long term. Associated companies operate in diverse sectors including financial services, insurance, healthcare, light industry and luxury yachts and aircraft. In 2012, KJC secured its first IPO when Enaya Health Insurance was floated on the Riyadh stock exchange.
Khaled Juffali Press Contact
Alshaimaa Adel Almaddah (HEADLINE Communication)
Phone: +966 563003080
Fax: +966 2261 9349
Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany and the United States. For more information, visit: www.soitec.com.
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