The Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on Wednesday the launch of the largest solar power plant in the Middle East and North Africa at Al-Shuaiba in Makkah Al-Mukarramah as part of its renewable energy programme.

Zawya reported that a PIF-backed consortium comprising of ACWA Power (in which PIF holds a 50 percent stake) and Water and Electricity Holding Company (Badeel), a 100 percent-owned PIF unit, has signed a 35-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for the 2.06 Gigawatts (GW) solar power plant.

The project, with investment value of $1.75 billion, is expected to achieve commercial operation by the fourth quarter of 2025.

In April 2021, the same consortium had inked a PPA with SPPC for the 1,500MW Sudair solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Sudair Industrial City in Riyadh province with an investment value of approximately 3.4 billion Saudi riyals ($905 million). 

The project’s initial commissioning was expected during the second half of 2022.

In March 2022, the US-based Nextracker had announced that it will supply its smart solar trackers and software for the 450MW Phase 1 of Sudair solar PV plant, with installation expected to start in the second quarter of 2022.

Both projects form part of PIF’s commitment to develop 70 percent of Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy capacity outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

(Writing by Senthil Palanisamy; Editing by Anoop Menon)