SAUDI ARABIA’S Ministry of Energy has announced that Acwa Power, a leader in power generation and water desalination plants, and French group Total Solar have emerged as major bidders for four solar energy projects in the kingdom with a total capacity of 1,200 MW.

 Announcing the names of shortlisted bidders, the energy ministry said the competition is the third round of the country’s National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP) and will allow bidding in two categories.  The first one covers the 80-MW Layla and the 120-MW Wadi Al Dawasir solar projects, while the 300-MW Saad and the 700-MW Ar Rass schemes will be offered in the other category.

 Of the four solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, Acwa Power consortium (which comprises China’s SPIC (Huamghe Hydropower Development Company) and Saudi group WEHC (Water & Electricity Holding Company) has emerged as a major bidder in three of them – Layla, Wadi Al Dawasir and Ar Rass solar projects.

 According to the Saudi ministry, the requests for proposals (RFPs) were issued in April last year for Category A and B projects. Three bids have been submitted for each project in the second quarter of 2021.

Apart from Acwa consortium, the other shortlisted bidders are France’s Total Solar International (for Wadi Al Dawasir); Alfanar/Asma Capital (for Layla); Jinko Power (for Ar Rass and Saad) and a consortium led by Abu Dhabi-based Masdar with French utility expert EDF and Saudi group Nesma (for Saad). 

 The ministry said the winning bidder will be entering into a 25-year PPA with the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) as an offtaker.