A Feasibility Study of the Use of Solar PV Energy in Saudi Arabia: A Case Study Assessment in a Factory in Zulfi City

[+] Author and Article Information
Yosry A. Azzam

Department of Computer Science, College of Science in Zulfi, Majmaah University, Majmaah 11952, Saudi Arabia; National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), Cairo, Egypt

Nagwa Ibrahim

Department of Physics, College of Science and Arts in Oyoon Aljuwa, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039551 History: Received December 04, 2017; Revised March 01, 2018


Few studies have been implemented to evaluate whether the renewable energy generation could fit into industrial locations in Saudi Arabia. We completed this feasibility study to investigate whether using photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays to power industrial cities at Saudi Arabia is economically feasible. The case study is a factory in Zulfi city, Riyadh Region. We used National Renewable Energy Laboratory's modeling tool, System Advisor Model (SAM) to evaluate the economic benefits of using a 150 kW DC PV system to cover 100% of the factory monthly power demand. Over 25 years, the system is estimated to generate about 6,000,000 kWh of electricity whose net savings are $398,000 (1 US$ is equal to about 3.75 Saudi Riyals) represented by a discounted cash flow. The proposed system will save the factory around $304,000 that would have to be paid in electric bills and will eliminate considerable amount of CO2 emissions. Sensitivity analysis has been conducted to determine the effects of underlying parameters on the economic feasibility of the proposed system. Levelized cost of electricity generated and net present value are used as indicators of proposed system feasibility. The results indicate that these projects can be profitable under some certain assumptions and can potentially be generalized for all industrial locations in Saudi Arabia.

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