Makkah municipality will establish a mega solar energy project, costing about SR 2.4 billion, to produce about 100 megawatt of electricity to meet the energy requirements of the municipality.
"The project will be established on an area of about two million square meters. About 20 international consortiums consisting of about 100 companies will compete for the execution of the project," Mayor Osama bin Fadl Al-Bar told business daily Al-Eqtisadiah.
He said the municipality would pay the cost of the project in monthly installments of SR 10 million. "The Ministry of Finance has approved the scheme," he added.
Al-Bar said under the contract to be signed with it, the winning consortium would decide the location of the area on which the project would be established. "The contractor would buy the piece of land whose ownership would return to the municipality at the end of the contract," he explained.
The mayor expected the project to save about SR 2.2 billion on the municipality's general budget for electricity bills. "We have been asking citizens to use solar energy instead of electricity. We should set an example. The government incurs about three times the value of the electricity bill paid by the citizen for each kilowatt of power he consumes. By using solar energy, the government will save a lot of money it used to spend on electricity," he said.
The mayor said the bids to implement the project would be opened during the first week of 2013. "The offers should have been opened on Saudi National Day but some consortiums asked for more time to further study the project," he explained.
Al-Bar said the success of project would encourage would encourage other municipalities and government departments to follow suit. "Solar energy will also save the local consumption of oil which is expected to be eight million barrels a day by the year 2030," he said.
According to municipality sources, this project would be used to satisfy the needs of the municipality for energy while another similar project would light streets and tunnels.
They said the two projects were part of more than 100 projects that a team of municipality specialists had specified to ensure the participation of the private sector in municipal activities.