Saudi Arabia may be a major solar energy hotspot, if the government can break away from oilFebruary 7, 2012
Deserts are an alluring target for companies and organizations interested in solar power. Sunlight is unabated in these regions of the world, allowing an array of solar panels to harvest energy with ease. As interest in solar energy grows, the deserts of Saudi Arabia are gaining attention from the world of alternative energy. Dubbed the “Desert Kingdom,” Saudi Arabia is part of the “sun belt” region of the world. The sun belt is a veritable band around the equator that receives more radiation from the sun than any other place in the world. It is estimated that more than 2,200 thermal kilowatt hours of electricity per square meter of land is generated in Saudi Arabia every day.
Despite the potential for major revenue generated by an expansive solar energy system, the Saudi Arabian government has been staunchly opposed to such a system for years. According to the CIA, 80-90% of the government’s budget revenue is tied into the petroleum sector. This translates into more than $324 billion in yearly profit from oil exports. Adopting solar energy, or any other type of alternative energy, would be a dramatic shift in the country’s business scheme.
The concept of energy is changing, however, and political leaders in Saudi Arabia have not been able to escape that fact. As the world grows more reliant on technology, the demand for energy is skyrocketing. With higher demand, the nation will have to cut prices on exported oil in order to compete with its neighbors. Some leaders have already begun shifting their mindset away from oil and toward a more sustainable and long-lasting energy business.