Saudi Arabia

NEXTracker wins award for work on Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale renewable energy plant

NEXTracker has just won the Utility Solar Project of the Year award by the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) in recognition of their work for the Sakaka solar project.
NEXTracker wins award for work on Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale renewable energy plant
Courtesy of NEXTracker

The project is the first utility scale renewable energy plant in Saudi Arabia and the first renewable energy project that is being built under King Salman’s renewable energy initiative. The project was awarded by the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM) and has generated a private sector capital investment of $302 million whole leading to the generation of more than 400 clean energy jobs for local people.

The first successful utility-scale Sakaka Paving the road for the privatization of energy in KSA, ACWA Power was awarded the world’s lowest tariff through its 25-year Power Purchase Agreement of 2.342 cents/kWh with the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC). Representing a major milestone in the Kingdom’s goal of adding 9.5 GW of renewable energy generation to the grid by 2023, Sakaka with NX Horizon technology is setting the stage for a robust and competitive national programme that seeks to diversify and localise the power generation industry, scale development, manufacturing and investment in the industrial sector, and lead renewable energy development across the MENA region. As the first to market tracker for utility-scale projects in Saudi Arabia, NEXTracker is the key technology partner for the biggest developers in the region, where it has a portfolio of close 1 GW across the MENA region (KSA, Egypt, Israel and Jordan).

The company has optimised its tracker design, the NX Horizon smart solar tracker, for rapid installation in this utility-scale project in Saudi Arabia. It supplied the tracker in collaboration with Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor, Mahindra Susten and developer, ACWA Power.

NX Horizon’s drive and electrical components are fully sealed against sand and dust ingress – a critical reliability factor in harsh desert climates – and the independent unlinked-row architecture and less stringent ground cover ratio (GCR) requirement compared to 2-in-portrait trackers allowed the highest MW capacity within Sakaka’s six square kilometer plot when compared to other tracker technologies. Eliminating costly truck rolls to remote sites like Sakaka, NX Horizon’s patented fasteners are designed to hold their tensile strength indefinitely accounting for zero wind failures over a three-year period of time. With independent rows, the unique cleaning mode allows maintenance vehicles to drive through freely and clean face-to-face arrays concurrently, making module maintenance and vegetation management quick and effortless.

Sakaka will also feature advanced data connectivity enabled by NX Data Hub, which offers industry-leading control and data collection and management, as well as predictive maintenance capabilities, enhancing operational control and analysis of NEXTracker components and accelerating commissioning by automating tracker configuration. Unlocking the full potential of independent rows, TrueCapture Smart Control System continuously optimises the tracking algorithm of each individual row in response to site features and changing weather conditions, generating millions in additional revenue for long term asset owners across the lifetime of the powerplant.

NEXTracker is the first company to market trackers for utility-scale projects in the country and has a portfolio of close to 1 GW across the MENA region (KSA, Egypt, Israel and Jordan). It has wide expertise in harsh environments from the Atacama desert in Chile to Egypt.

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