Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of developing another source of energy that would be sought-after throughout the world, known as the "Yellow Oil," or power derived from the sun, according to a report in a local publication.
According to forecasts of the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power will become the biggest energy source in the world by 2050. Here in the Kingdom all indications are that the country is on the threshold of a revolution in solar energy production.
The plan is to produce 41 gigawatts to match the leading countries in this field by 2032. This will be consistent with the national transformation program aimed at diversifying the economy and stimulating investments in non-oil industries.
According to a report issued by the IEA, photovoltaic systems would generate 16 percent of the world's electricity by 2050, while solar thermal energy systems would generate another 11 percent, which will reduce carbon emissions by 6 billion tons annually. This is promising for sunny places in Africa, India, the Middle East, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad Al-Abdan, chairman of Desert Technologies, said his company was the first Saudi firm to enter the solar panel manufacturing market in 2012. There was huge potential in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
"The world is witnessing unprecedented competition in the production of solar energy. Many countries have announced they would build stations to generate solar energy as an intelligent strategic option."
"Solar energy is more sustainable and prices tend to be almost level (with other energy sources). This is our chance in the Kingdom to further invest in this vital sector which is in line with transformation plans in the non-oil part of the economy," he said.
Noor Musa, chief executive officer of the company, said most countries want to exploit solar energy because of the increasing demand for power, driven by growing populations.
He said the company has set up several projects in a number of countries, including the Ma'an Jordan project, with a production capacity of 23 megawatts, which was endorsed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources through an agreement to buy energy for 20 years at a cost of $50 million.
"Another successful project is the one built and operated in Aqaba, Jordan, with a production capacity of 10 megawatts. The project consists of 40,200 photovoltaic units," he said.
He said solar power was a clean, low cost source of energy, with prices likely to fall substantially over the coming years to between 2 and 4 cents per one kilowatt by 2050.