Saudi Solar Energy: Giving Oil A Run For Its Money

RIYADH — If there’s one thing Saudi Arabia is known for it is oil.

But Omar Alluhaydan would like his country to become famous for something else it has plenty of — sunlight. The 27-year-old founder of Green Technology, the first solar panel maker in the kingdom, is convinced that he can help Saudi Arabia dramatically reduce its dependence on oil by investing in renewable energy.


“Not only the West can do it — we can do it here too,” he told NBC News from his office in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. “If a country and nation became environmentally friendly and the sustainability of humanity became much better, this is how we are going to save our world.”

So far Alluhaydan’s company — also known as GTek — is relatively small, employing around 50 people. And most Saudis don’t even know there is a “thing called solar energy,” he admits. The sector is heavily subsidized, as it is in much of the world. Still, he’s thinking big. With an average of 16 hours of sunlight a day, Saudi Arabia is a perfect candidate for widespread use of solar power, said Alluhaydan. He aims for GTek to have a turnover of around $250 million by the end of 2017.

Alluhaydan’s plans come amid a much bigger shake-up going on in the kingdom, one that seeks to transform the country’s economy by slashing its reliance on oil. At the moment petroleum makes up around 80 percent of the government’s budget revenues and accounts for around 45 percent of its GDP.

According to Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious road map for transformation being driven by the country’s young and outspoken deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, energy consumption is expected to grow threefold in the coming years but “we still lack a competitive renewable energy sector.”

That’s where Alluhaydan steps in. He is second on Forbes Middle East’s list of entrepreneurs “shaping” the country’s future. He is also a featured speaker at this week’s MiSK Global Forum, a first-of-its-kind gathering of entrepreneurs and business leaders from the region and around being held in Riyadh Tuesday and Wednesday.

Alluhaydan is also part of the wave of young people the government is placing enormous hope in. He was among some 150,000 young men and women that government has sent abroad to study in the past decade. And like many of his compatriots who studied abroad, Alluhaydan brought something back from his travels.

“I’ll tell you something I’ve seen in my life. In Australia I remember they produce electricity for 2,000 houses from the waste. How good is that?” he said. “I’ve seen it — this is a great thing.”

Read Full Article

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.


Product Development: Embracing product safety and compliance

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: EMBRACING PRODUCT SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE Recent safety incidents on storage plants have raised concerns about the fire safety of battery storage systems. Such events are extremely rare compared to the cumulated global deployments of energy storage systems, which have reached more than 27 GWh by end of 2020 (Wood Mackenzie 2021). However, for…

Read More

Future energy predictions: Growth of flexibility and grid forming

  It is well known that COVID-19 has caused low energy demand and the growth of renewable energy across Europe. Now, Andrew Tang, Vice President for Energy Storage at Wärtsilä, predicts this will result in swift action to build better grid resiliency. The share of renewable power across Europe has skyrocketed over the last six…

Read More


“Probably the most interactive and well organized storage event on the calendar.”


Sales Director, S&C

“Great topics, competent speakers, good networking: keep it like that.”



“High scientific content, well targeted, perfect organization.”


Expert Technical & Governance, Elia

Excellent networking event. The sponsorship was well worth it.”


Manager, ATL

View More