The Saudi government is planning to invest up to USD 7 bn in seven new solar plants and a big wind farm by the end of 2018, as part of its national renewables program aiming at deploying 9.5 Gigawatt of renewables to provide 10% of its total energy by 2023, The New York Times reported.

The government of the world’s largest exporter of oil recently awarded ACWA Power, a Saudi energy company, the 25-year power purchase contract for setting up a 300 Megawatt solar plant in Sakaka, in northern Saudi Arabia, that will power 40,000 homes. The Sakaka plant is the first utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant in the Kingdom. It will cost around USD 300 mn and create many job opportunities.

Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said in a press release, “We are proud to have set yet another world record tariff for PV power, now at home, and are humbled to be entrusted with the first utility-scale renewable energy plant to be developed in the Kingdom.”