On 19 and 20 November 2013, German and Saudi CSP research and industry representatives met in Riad for their first workshop on Concentrating Solar Energy. The two-day event was to provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and to explore in depth the options of a joint construction of solar power plants in Saudi Arabia.
The workshop took place under the patronage of the German embassy in Riad and was funded by the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The hosting organisations were the DLR Institute of Solar Research and the Saudi Arabian energy agency, K.A.Care. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Council of Saudi Chambers were the participating business partners on the Saudi Arabian side, while German industry was represented by the German CSP Association (Verband Deutsche CSP).
he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pursues an ambitious programme to extend its solar energy sector. By 2032 the country intends to generate 41 gigawatts from solar energy, with 25 gigawatts coming from solar thermal facilities. “This will make Saudi Arabia one of the world’s leading markets for solar energy”, said Germany’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dieter W. Haller. The intention of the workshop was to weigh the options of future cooperation both in research and in an industrial context.
Day one of the event was dedicated to CSP research. DLR scientists presented current research projects, pointing out areas of potential cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Top priority was to be given to application oriented research, and on joint ventures between German and Saudi industry partners.
It was the German CSP Association that had prepared the second day of the meeting, during which participating companies could present themselves and benefit from networking opportunities. About 20 Saudi Arabian companies and 40 representatives of 15 German CSP Association affiliates took part in the second day’s event.
In his speech, Ambassador Haller underlined the importance of industrial cooperation: “Paving the way for future Saudi-German business cooperation is crucial because the Saudi government wishes to see the introduction of solar energy generation firmly tied to the development of Saudi Arabia’s own local solar industry. German CSP companies are in an excellent position to support their Saudi partners in these efforts, offering their experience gathered over many years in the development of solar thermal technology.”
According to Professor Robert Pitz-Paal, Co-Director of the Institute for Solar Research, the workshop fulfilled all expectations: “Saudi Arabian delegates both from industry and research showed great interest in our current research projects and in future cooperation. We are delighted that our workshop has found such great resonance, and that some definite projects have been initiated. What needs to be done now is to foster these contacts and make them more substantial. Much will depend on the support we receive on the ground, both from the BMU and from German and Saudi government agencies”.
On the German side, the following companies took part in the workshop event:
Bilfinger Piping Technologies GmbH, CSP Services, erfis, Fichtner Solar, Ghorfa, hogrefe Consult, ILF, Kraftanlagen München, Lahmeyer International, Leoni, M+W Group, Novatec Solar, Protarget, schlaich bergermann und partner , Schott Solar, Solar Tower Systems, Suntrace.