In a research lab, Saudi engineers whip up a simulated sandstorm to test a solar panel's durability, part of the oil-rich kingdom's multibillion dollar quest to be a renewable energy powerhouse.
The world’s top exporter of crude seems an unlikely champion of clean energy, but the government lab in Al Uyayna, a sun-drenched village near Riyadh, is leading the country’s solar efforts as it seeks to diversify.
A dazzling spotlight was shone on those ambitions last week when Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the $200bn plans to develop the globe’s biggest solar power project in partnership with Japan’s SoftBank group.
The MoU to produce up to 200 gigawatts of power by 2030 – about 100 times the capacity of the current biggest projects – was the latest jaw-dropping statement as the Saudis look to wean themselves off oil.
If built on one site, the solar farm would cover an area twice the size of Hong Kong, according to a Bloomberg News calculation. While the scale of the plan has stirred some disbelief, the agreement announced in the US was greeted with determination at the laboratory.
Jeremy Lawrence and Bernd Dubusmann discuss.
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(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)