In its effort to create solutions to reduce carbon emissions and enhance energy security, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) explores in a recent Data Insight publication, entitled “Trends in Global Solar PV Installation,” that the total global capacity of solar photovoltaics (PV) installations increased 80 times in 13 years from 2007 to 2019, equivalent to 627 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year. This capacity equates to about 2.8% of global electricity generation.
The Data Insight, conducted by the researcher in the Energy Modeling Program, Dr. Amro Elshurafa, showed that the total solar PV capacity in Saudi Arabia reached 390 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2019, after the solar PV plant in Sakaka (in the north of the Kingdom) came online.
Elshurafa indicated that China was the largest installer of solar PV among five countries by the end of 2019, followed by the United States, India and Japan. Vietnam and Spain shared the fifth place.
The paper showed that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates had the biggest solar PV projects that came online in 2019 in the Middle East: the Benban plant in Egypt, with a capacity of 1.8 GW, and the Noor/Sweihan plant in the UAE, with a capacity of 1.2 GW.
This paper falls within the framework of KAPSARC’s project specialized in the assessment of the changing economics of the Saudi electricity industry, which seeks to increase the use of renewables in power generation.
The Data Insight publication is one of the six research publications issued by the center’s experts, which aims to draw a road map to contribute to the diversification of energy sources, economic growth and prosperity, and support access to the sustainable development goals and Saudi Vision 2030.
It is noted that KAPSARC made progress, in 2019, in the list of the best research centers regionally and globally, as it jumped 14 ranks in the ranking of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) research centers. It ranked 15th out of 103 research centers regionally, and 13th out of 60 research centers globally specializing in energy policy.