October 26, 2021

Advanced solar modules power Saudi organic farm

First Solar and the Al Watania Agriculture Company announced the completion in January of a pilot project to evaluate the use of solar electricity for sustainably powered irrigation in Saudi Arabia.

First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic PV modules power groundwater extraction and distribution at a 25,688m2 site on the not-for-profit Al Watania Organic farm.

The 319km2 farm is Saudi Arabia’s largest producer of organic products.

The installed PV generator will pump over 3.1m cubic meters of water per year from 150 boreholes. The solar plant replaces a diesel generator, which run continuously would consume 628,000L of diesel per year.

The facility produces 1,476 MWh of electricity every year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,100 tons, equivalent to planting 28,000 trees.

Ibrahim Aboabat, CEO of Al-Watania Agriculture said: “We are proud to partner with First Solar on this exciting new project, which will not only help reduce our carbon footprint, but will also allow us to explore the potential for solar to reliably support our energy needs.

“Al Watania Organic was born from our founder Sheikh Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al Rajhi’s vision of agricultural products being sustainably farmed right here in Saudi Arabia. Implementing the use of solar electricity will help further that vision.”

The advanced thin film modules are ideally suited to local conditions, offering a combination of improved temperature coefficient and spectral performance.

Dr. Raed Bkayrat, vice president of Business for First Solar in the Middle East said: “This project is an excellent example of the scalability and flexibility that solar PV offers. Sunlight is the region’s most abundant energy resource and the Al Watania Agriculture Company should be applauded for having the vision to sustainably harness affordable and reliable solar electricity to address its energy needs.”

First Solar is a world leader in PV systems, with more than 10,000MW installed worldwide.

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