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In this industrial era, water and energy are the two most important requirements for the sustainability of human race and this issue is being addressed by the nations around the globe. No matter how developed or populous a nation is, having to develop means of producing energy for their people as well as maintaining the safety of environment holds pivotal importance. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the largest resources of concentrated solar power (CPS) and photovoltaics. The country is utilizing these resources to produce high direct normal irradiation (DNI) that can help them to generate energy from renewed and highly sustainable resources (Kicp, 2009).
The basic purpose behind this practice is to reduce the consumption of hydrocarbons that are currently being used by the country in generating electricity and in desalting the sea water. In addition the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an attractive market for the foreign investors when it comes to invest in energy sector. The photovoltaics companies are drawn to the nation because here the energy cost is quite low therefore they find attractive business conditions in this Kingdom (Santander, 2015).
However, many of the potential investors as well as the practitioners require a strong domestic market to operate. Considering the present condition of Saudi Arabia, various researchers have suggested that in coming five years solar energy sector will become one of the major pillars in the industries of Saudi Arabia with an estimation of US$10 billion sale and more than 50% of export share (Huraib, 2014).
The purpose and the primary aim of the current research is also to study the effect and potential of photovoltaics technology in economic and industrial sectors of Saudi Arabia and how they can play their role in shaping the sustainable future of nation. The motivation of this research also comes from the fact that the use sustainable energy resources are considered to future energy sector in years to come, and its potential in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be investigated to review its potential in terms economic as well sustainability parameters.
The following objectives have been set for this research;
From the above mentioned objectives, the following research questions have been developed which are aimed to be address in this study:
How Saudi Government is utilizing concentrated solar energy and photovoltaics technology to increase its direct normal irradiation to generate clean and sustainable energy resources?
What will be the impact of the use of photovoltaics technology on the foreign investments and economic productivity of Saudi Arabia?
Solar energy is considered as a clean and safe source of energy as it does not pose risk to human life and the environment. Its utilization helps to decreases various energy related major concerns such as generation of pollution resulting from coal or petroleum industry (Taleb & Sharples, 2011). Photovoltaic (PV) panels are currently for various purposes such as for example in water pumps to pump water for domestic use such as watering crops or animals. Such photovoltaic panels can be installed or mounted anywhere to supply water to an area even if there is no electric grid nearby. They are environment friendly as they do not consume fuel and does not burn fossils to generate energy. This system requires minimum skilled employees after its operation and they are also very cost effective when it comes to maintain them. However, the use of this systems has great potential and can be utilized for higher energy requirements of the modern era, given that a proper infrastructure is developed to extract this sustainable form of energy (Yasser Al-Saleh & Upham, 2008).
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is blessed in way that it geographical location allows it to receive intense solar radiations for long hours because of its open vast lands. According to Rehman et al the time sunshine received by the Saudi Kingdom varies between 7.4h to 9.4h per day with mean of 8.98h, which accumulates to a total of 3245h of sunshine per year. Residencies are spread all over the kingdom, however the most populated areas are Dhahran, Riyadh, Jeddah, Guriat and Nejran. This is primarily because these cities are connected with the national grid station of the country and highway networks. However there are many small cities that are currently not connected with the national grid stations and depend on diesel generated power stations for power supply and have independent isolated grids. Pumping water in these areas is a major challenge for the Kingdom of Saud Arabia. Therefore the Kingdom is utilizing PVPSs in these areas to provide more clean and sustainable source for energy to carry out these activities. The use of this technology is bringing affordable and maintainable system of generating power in Saudi Arabia. Development in this area is actually increasing the life standard of people living in remote locations (Huraib, 2014).
The current energy requirements in Saudi Arabia indicated that the nation’s demand for electricity will exceed from 40GW to 120GW up till the year 2028.This in turn increase the utilization of hydrocarbons from 3 million barrels to 8.3 million barrels. In addition the water demand also increases with the increases of population, therefore the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is subjected to introduce renewable energy to meet the energy demands and reducing the utilization of hydrocarbons (Lahn & Stevens, 2011). The key initiative was the use of concentrated solar energy and photovoltaics panels. However the climate conditions of the country such as high temperature and dust do bring serious challenges such as temperature and dust effect on these solar energy plants (Khan, 2014).
Despite for meeting the energy needs, the Kingdom is also ideal and offers very attractive condition for foreign investment in the field of energy. The main reason behind this investment is that the energy costs are really low in Saudi Arabia (Hurain, 2016). Photovoltaics companies who are involved in silicon and ingot/wafer production are attracted to the Kingdom and consider this region as profitable for conducting business (Yasser Al-Saleh & Upham, 2008). However they do require strong domestic solar market for their business to operate efficiently, which can be made possible through motivating / advertising / informing the end-users and through introduction of various schemes such as CO2 reduction certificates to attract these companies to invest in it.
This increased investment in energy sector has potential to support the country to decrease its dependence on oil and aids in creating a solar based environmentally responsible economic environment. This makes Saudi Arabia an ideal location to attract silicon and wafer projects. In addition it will also become a good market for photovoltaics final projects. The detailed discussion on how this photovoltaics technology will affect the Saudi environment in long term, and how its domestic market can be developed (such as through effective communication, partnering with local stakeholders, governmental support etc.) platforms will be discussed in detailed later in the research
The research design opted for the study and different techniques that will be utilized to gather research data will be discussed in the methodology chapter. The researcher will describe the means and strategies to obtain primary and secondary data for the research. This chapter will consist an explanation of;
All these parameters will ensure that the researcher is able to obtain sufficient data so that the researcher’s aims as well as all the objectives are achieved. It might be possible the use of primary research and data sources may not be required for this research, and extensive secondary is available to extract / process the required data
The most important findings as well as results of this research obtained through the literature reveiwed and statistical-analysis will be presented. Emphasis will be made in essuring that the findings of this research justify the research objectives, and are in context with the similar studies carried out in the same field. There might be a chance that some of the findings will not justify the hypothesis made earlier about the results. This may result due to the difference in characteristics of the research sample such as demographic information or research design. However the aim of the researcher is to present the results in accordance with research aims and objectives.
In the final section of this paper, a discussion and conclusion will be presented. Here the researcher will discuss the research findings and give his own views and opinions about the results obtained and the extracts of the literature reviewed. In addition, the researcher will discuss these findings in the light of authentic research resources and support his findings by relating them to other studies. The discussion and conclusion chapter will clearly summarize the impact of using sustainable photovoltaics technology development in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Huraib, F.B., 2014. Islamic World Science Net. [Online] Available at: http://www.icpsr.org.ma/?Page=showInstitute&InstituteID=ERI21&CountryID=saudiarabia [Accessed 16 January 2016].
Hurain, S., 2016. Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. [Online] Available at: https://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/energy/ [Accessed 16 January 2016].
IEA, (2011). Solar Energy Perspectives, IEA/OECD
Khan, S., 2014. Energy Issues And Policies. A Quarterly Journal For Debating Energy Issues And Policies, IX(96).
Kicp, 2009. "Saudi Arabia Solar Energy" Manufacturing and Technology. Riyadh: KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP).
Lahn, G. & Stevens, , 2011. Burning Oil to Keep Cool The Hidden Energy Crisis in Saudi Arabia. Chatham House.
Mehta, S. and P. Maycock (2010). The PV Supply Chain: Manufacturing, Technologies, Costs, Greentech Media Research and PV Energy Systems
Nature Photonics (2010), Future Perspectives of Photovoltaics, Proceedings of the Conference, Nature Publishing Group.
Santander, 2015. Trade Portal. [Online] Available at: https://en.santandertrade.com/establish-overseas/saudi-arabia/foreign-investment [Accessed 16 January 2016].
Taleb, H.M. & Sharples, , 2011. Developing sustainable residential buildings in Saudi Arabia: A case study. Applied Energy, (88), pp.383-91.
Yasser Al-Saleh & Upham, P., 2008. Renewable Energy Scenarios for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Manchester: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.