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Work starts on Saudi's Acwa-led inaugural solar project

The 300MW plant in Al Jouf will supply power to 45,000 households once built, Acwa said

HH King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has broken ground on a 300MW solar project in the kingdom's Al Jouf [representational image].
HH King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has broken ground on a 300MW solar project in the kingdom's Al Jouf [representational image].

Work has officially begun on the 300MW Saakaka PV IPP, a solar energy project in Saudi's Al Jouf led by Acwa Power and the first renewable energy project under the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

According to Acwa, the ground-breaking ceremony was overseen by HH King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday, with HRH Mohammad bin Salman also in attendance.

Acwa said it expected commercial operations at the plant, the first project under King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, to start "next year”.

Once complete, the 300MW project will supply power to 45,000 households in Al Jouf, at the same time offsetting over 430,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

READ: Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power said to delay planned 2018 IPO

Acwa said the project will also create new employment opportunities in fields including construction and operations.

The news comes one week after the successful financial closure of the $319.7m (SAR1.2bn) project by Acwa, a leading name in power generation and water desalination globally.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad Abunayyan, Acwa Power chairman, said: “We are immensely proud to take part in the first clean energy project in Saudi Arabia that contributes to the sustainable transition of the Kingdom.

“The Sakaka PV IPP is testament to the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and translates his vision announced at the inauguration of the Seventh Session of the Shura Council, which stems the adoption of economic diversification to develop a sustainable competitive economic foundation that caters to the needs of present and future generations.”

READ: Acwa Power wins $302m renewable energy project in Saudi Arabia

In February this year, Acwa power was awarded a 25-year power purchase agreement for the project, located on a site spanning 600ha. It was awarded to Acwa at a new world-record tariff of US cents 2.3417/kWh (8.781 halalas/kWh), as reported by Construction Week at the time.

A consortium of Mahindra Susten, and Chint has already been picked as the project's engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.

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Construction Week - Issue 729
Feb 14, 2019