Saudi Arabia to begin installing household solar PV systems

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy announced on Wednesday its readiness to work on installing small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems; which allow consumers to produce solar-based electrical energy from their homes or establishments; and connect it to the transmission systems of the Kingdom’s national power grid.

Solar photovoltaic is the process of converting sunlight (photons) into electricity (voltage), using semiconducting materials.

The ministry said in a statement that the economic feasibility of installing a small solar PV system will be studied; while determining the estimated costs and procedures for safe connection to the network; and the approved specifications for this type of system.

According to the ministry, the project includes the launch of the Shamsi portal dedicated to the small-scale solar PV system; through the Water & Electricity Regulatory Authority, while the rest of the other government agencies assume their regular responsibilities; each according to their respective competencies and in line with the regulatory framework for small solar PV systems.

The Shamsi portal allows the consumer; to know the economic feasibility and estimated costs of installing a solar energy system in a home or facility; before connecting it to the public electrical network.

The portal provides the consumer with an easy-to-use electronic calculator that helps in analyzing the financial and technical aspects of the estimated installation cost; as well as provides various other support services.

It also allows the qualified consultant to conduct an economic feasibility study of installing the solar energy system at the consumer’s facility.

Installation process

The ministry also said that the selection of companies and contractors who are qualified for undertaking this process will be through a rigorous qualification process conducted by a committee headed by the ministry; with the membership of a number of bodies.

The committee will take into account the efficiency and ability of companies and contractors to implement the installation process and connect the systems with high accuracy.

The ministry said that the regulatory framework for small solar PV systems defines the regulatory requirements related to the systems connected to the distribution system in the Kingdom; as well as adopts net billing arrangements that regulate the energy exchange process and financial clearance procedures; between the consumer and the distribution service provider.

The framework ensures the effectiveness and safety of installation, maintenance, and operation of small solar PV energy systems in all facilities without having any impact on the electricity system, through the integration of efforts between all relevant parties.

It also includes a model agreement between the service provider and the consumer eligible; in order to install small solar PV systems that defines the terms, conditions, and responsibilities of both parties.

The ministry indicated that the participating parties in the process are the Ministry of Energy, the Water & Electricity Regulatory Authority, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing; the Ministry of Commerce, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy; and the Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization.