Research paper on OPEC Countries
In the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) , the greatest oil exporter is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) which has many resources of energy and it has been confirmed that one fifth amount of the world’s oil reserves are found here (OPEC, 2016). In addition to this, the sixth largest gas reserve in the world is in this country (BP, 2014). It has high energy resource potential of solar according to Farnoosh and wind according to Alyousef and Stevens. Saudi Arab is ranked at 13th in the list of global largest electricity creator and buyer (The World Factbook, 2017). Since 2016, many countries which are located in the region of Middle East such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and the KSA have raised the prices of state energy because there was decline in the prices of oil and gas prices in the past two years (Mills, 2016). Countries have taken one of this measure in order to survive the decline in revenues occurred due to low oil and gas sales. Energy prices adjustments has been implemented by many countries including Jordon, Morocco and Egypt in the last few years.
In the last decade, impressive growth has been accomplished by the KSA in demand of power (SEC, 2014) caused by various factors such as increase in population, robust development of economy, advancement in living standards, severe conditions of weather, industrial growth, economic policies regulated towards industries using large amount of energy for diversification as well as costly consumption supported by low energy pricing regimes (Fattouh, 2013, Woertz, 2013). Since 2003, the highest demand of electricity has increased by 6.1% annually. In 2014, 56.5 GW was the maximum demand but yearly demand for electricity reached to 274.5 TWH.
There was an addition of quite large amount of infrastructure for power generation in the past few years so that the increased demand can be met. Almost all the amount of power is generated from the oil and gas until now which are some of the domestic fossil fuel sources (Farnoosh et al., 2014), except photovoltaic applications that are decentralized in different areas including Tabuk (1 MW), Jeddah (5.4 MW), Riyadh (5.3 MW and 0.2 MW), Dhahran (10.5 MW and 0.035 MW), on Farasan Island (0.5 MW) as well as at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (2 MW). The domestic fuel pricing policies is the reason behind the fossil fuel resources utilization because it is keeping the price rates lower than the global level (Alyousef and Stevens, 2011, OIES, 2015).
2- SOLAR PV IN SAUDI ARABIA
The technology of PV Solar can benefit the economy and environment because it has advanced and now it has become as attractive investment worldwide. Fossil fuel is the source of energy for meeting the current 80% demand of the world (Sahu, 2015). If there is a continuous growth in the recent trends during this century then it will result in the depletion of available sources of major energy (Kurokawa et al., 2002). Moreover, there are many environmental concerns including emission of CO2 and its effects are anticipated to be beyond allowable levels (IEA PVPS, 2009). That is why, it is expected that the solar energy is going to be one of the best resources for renewable resources in the future. Even though, solar energy has low density but still it is considered as the source of energy in the world which is one of the largest and available in large quality but in such a case, there has to be an effective use of deserts.
A Very Large Scale Photovoltaic (VLS-PV) means that the capacity of solar PV lie between 10 MW to few GW and it may consist of single unit or more than single unit which can be operated all together (IEA PVPS, 2003, IEA PVPS, 2007). There are many options available for deployment on a large scale in the desert but the best option is VLS-PV power generation systems. Since 2000, VLS-PV was introduced and then it started to take its place in the market where most of them were already installed in different locations of the world. Solar power plants which are measured on Giga watt scale are thought of as professionally feasible and it has reached to a commercial stage. Over the last two decades, there is a progressive increase in the potential of photovoltaic power stations with a new capacity record every year. The total solar PV’s capacity has reached to a minimum 320 GW in 2016 which was a big milestone (Fraunhofer Institute, 2017) and after hydro and wind energy, it emerged as the biggest source of energy (Sahu, 2015, REN21, 2016). In 2015, only around 15.15 GW has been installed in China which was reached to the 43.5 GW after cumulative installation of solar PV by the end of the year so China secured the highest position in the world (IEA-PVPS-Trends in Photovoltaic Applications, 2016). In China, there is a solar PV station named Yanchi which has the made the biggest VLS-PV record of exact 1000 MW in the world and in the first few months of 2016 it went in gridline (Large-Scale PV Power, 2016).
There are renewable resources available to Saudi Arabia which they use to fulfill large number of energy needs that is why it has become one of the richest countries in the world (Pazheri, 2014). Solar energy has the highest potential in the whole country among other available energy sources. Effective contribution has been made to harness the solar energy due to the implementation of VLS-PV at the domestic level in order to supply electricity to different sectors besides many important environmental benefits and issues related to the safety for the process of supplying energy (Garni et al., 2016). The analysis of the capacity of VLS-PV in Saudi Arab is the major goal of this paper, and also increasing the favorable circumstances, challenges and offer suggestions so that the VLS-PV systems can be penetrated and recognized in the country. The country can be able to add VLS-PV when producing power in the future if the large desert areas that have not been used before combined with extreme solar potential with an objective to meet its planned solar power but it can only be achieved when they perform SWOT analysis technique for determining internal factors such as strength and weakness as well as external factors like opportunities and threats. Favorable and unfavorable situations can be faced during the VLS-PV implementation process taking place in Saudi Arabia so actions should be taken to mitigate any risk.
K.A.CARE has agreed on a specific plan in which they have set targets based on the above challenges for installing 54GW renewable energy by the year 2032. This specific plan consists of 25 GW CSP, 16 GW PV, 9 GW wind, 3 GW waste-to-energy and 1 GW geothermal which are required to fulfill the demand and supply of expected future energy (Squire Sanders,, Jurgenson et al., 2016, Alyahya and Irfan, 2016). Moreover, they have planned to establish nuclear power which will produce 17.6 GW during the same period. In the solar energy sector, the government is willing to make an investment of 109 billion USD to implement this specific plan but it may take more years because selection of renewable energy sources that are suitable for portfolio utilization is very time consuming (Garni et al., 2016).
The possibility of VLS-PV systems in the locations where desert is preset, has been analyzed by a number of researchers and they have also determined the main factors which important to check feasibility including socio economic benefits and its contribution to reduce the problems related to global environment (IEA PVPS, 2009, IEA PVPS, 2003, IEA PVPS, 2007, Tamas Kerekes et al., 2013, Denholm and Margolis, 2006, Ong et al., 2013). National and multinational institutions adopt VLS-PV systems nowadays as an option for the generation of viable energy because it is considered as a profitable resource for the future. The down payment, which is the portion of the total cost, of PV system has reduced by a significant amount in the last few years because of the advance technology and massive scale production. The cost of electricity generated from PV has been split into two parts while the cost of module has been reduced by 75% since the end of 2010 (Zeineb Abdmouleh and Alammari, 2015).
The changes in the utility scale of PV systems cost from fourth quarter (Q4) of year 2009 to first quarter (Q1) of year 2016, as visible in the Fig. 2 which shows that the huge reduction occurred in the cost of hardware (module and inverter prices) (NREL, 2016).
Almarshould has recently conducted a study to check the suitability of PV installations in 32 sites of Saudi Arabia, according to which there is high productivity of energy in all locations except in northern and southern sites the productivity is at extreme point because of one factor that is temperature (Almarshoud, 2016). So the implementation of VLS-PV is a powerful solution for Saudi Arab to generate huge amount of power and reduce the gap between predicted power supply and demand as well as overcome the climate change problems (IEA PVPS, 2009