A Red Sea island off Saudi Arabia is replacing a number of the diesel it burns using the sun’s energy.

Saudi Electric, the state utility, has completed installing solar panels on Farasan Island near Jeddah and plans to connect them for the grid subsequent month.

The 500-kilowatt array is a modest step in a multibillion-dollar plan to totally free up the oil and gas the kingdom now burns to meet domestic electrical power wants, and instead use those fuels for profitable export or industrial development.

“The sunlight that is offered within the area is one of the highest around the planet,” stated Atsuhiko Hirano, a senior vice president at Solar Frontier, the Japanese company that constructed the panels for Saudi Electric. “The electricity demand matches very effectively with solar power.”

The solar array will eliminate the require for 28,000 barrels of diesel more than its lifetime, in accordance with Solar Frontier, which can be a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu. Diesel is now shipped to Farasan to create power for the common diving spot.

The government is expected to outline its program later this year for large-scale renewables and nuclear energy. Right now the kingdom fuels about half of its energy plants with organic gas, with crude oil and oil derivatives supplying the other half.Saudi Arabia has 52 gigawatts of installed capability and will require to increase that to 120gw in the subsequent two decades if it truly is to meet projected demand, stated Dr Abdullah al Shehri, the governor of the Electrical power & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority.

“We have a good level of solar radiation inside the country, and we think it can contribute not only to producing solar energy but also clipping the peak load,” said Dr al Shehri.