Saudi Arabia’s energy consumption currently relies on crude oil and other fossil fuels. The country is also the world’s largest exporter of oil, possessing around 18 percent of the global proven petroleum reserves. Although fossil fuels currently account for 70 percent of the Kingdom’s export earnings, experts have also identified solar power as a sustainable and profitable alternative energy export.

Zubair et al. compare the solar energy output of Saudi Arabia with potential solar energy customers across Europe and Asia. They simulated a 4 GW grid connected to a solar energy plant in the capital of each country and assumed a discounted sale price of half the current electricity purchase price for local residential customers.

The authors identified potential based on load curve and time of solar energy generation. Taking into account Saudi Arabia’s location in relation to potential customers, the authors concluded that such solar exports could reach countries facing energy shortages during peak times of the day, and identified Pakistan, India, and Turkey as the countries that could benefit the most from these exports.

The Pakistani city of Karachi was specifically identified as a megacity severely affected by power shortage. The authors said that collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the Karachi Electric Company has been proposed as the next stage in this research.

“Solar energy, educating the youth, and the vast solar potential of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be used to develop solar farms for exports to not only Karachi but also to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and other Arab countries in the east to help cover their energy load peaks after sunset.” Zubair said.

Source: “Solar energy export prospects of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” by Muhammad Zubair, Ahmed Bilal Awan, R.P. Praveen, and Muhammad Abdulbaseer, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (2019). The article can be accessed at