Aramco Joins Group Building Giant Solar Plant in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco is joining a group led by ACWA Power to build a nearly $1 billion solar power plant in the kingdom as the world’s largest oil-exporting nation expands renewable energy supply.

Aramco will hold a 30% stake in the Sudair solar project, while ACWA and partner Water & Electricity Holding Co. will each own 35%. ACWA, itself 50% owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, said it had reached financial close with lenders on the 1,500 megawatt project.

Saudi Arabia has been slow to move away from fossil fuels in favor of clean energy. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced the Sudair plant in April, saying it be the country’s largest when it starts operating. The plant will start producing power in second half of 2022.

Saudi Aramco is looking to spend on renewable energy projects alongside the sovereign investor, the Public Investment Fund, as global economies seek to transition to greener energy. Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said last week the company is studying hydrogen production and export even as it invests to expand oil output capacity and sales.

The banks financing the project include Mizuho Financial Group, Riyad Bank, Korea Development Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corp., Al Rajhi Bank, and Standard Chartered Plc as senior lenders and mandated lead arrangers. Bank Al Bilad, Saudi British Bank and SMBC International Plc will provide equity bridge facilities.