Renewable resources are gaining increasing popularity and have become an integral and foremost part of the world. The world is changing and shifting from non renewable to renewable resources for the purpose of sustainability and development. Many projects have been announced by the efficient government of the region with ample sunlight KSA for optimum as well as effective utilization of energy obtained from renewable sources. For the main cause of implementation of energy ventures (solar), the government of KSA has invested and utilized over 33 billion (Al Sharafi et al., 2017) The continuous increase of local demand of electricity in the region with ample sunlight Saudi Arabia requires expansion in power generation field as well. Since conventional generation of power by utilization of non renewable resources have proved to be one of the root causes of hazardous changes in the surrounding habitat and this pollution greatly impacts as well as endangers human health due to emissions as well as release of toxic greenhouse gas. It is therefore required that alternative methods are discussed and made popular all over the world especially in those countries with ample renewable resources.
The factors involved in boosting electricity sector includes the noticeable decrease in the cost of system and the formulation along with introduction of nationally useful policies and better initiatives for energy utilization which is renewable (McCrone,A. et al.,2016) Consequently, new and much better opportunities for centralized as well as distributed type of energy from renewable sources markets are most likely to be present internationally. (EIA, 2016) Agreements of advanced level promised via G7 along with G20 administrations with the purpose to increase utilization of renewable kind of energy and side by side promote this type of energy efficiency with respect to the demand. The United Nations possesses General assembly which has taken into consideration sustainable development goals in order to promote sustainable energy projects (REN21, 2016). This investment will work in a way that will increase 6% rate of growth in the government sector. The measures that are taking place in Saudi Arabia includes introduction of solar microgrids, Solar panels and solar photovoltaic. In the year 2010, the first photovoltaic project started in Saudi Arabia and the process is in continuation till the present day. This has made stronger the potential of microgrids utilizing power in solar form in KSA (Al Garni et al., 2016)
The utilization of distribution generation that is sources including DG mainly for the purpose of local power production reduces burden on existing scheme of transmission. Mostly, the DG type components are lower about 100kW possessing a unique power edge of electronics, incorporating fossil fuel or energy sources that are renewable in a unique highly efficient localized way of co generation mode. This in turn causes less release of CO2 and consumption of fossil fuel is also reduced significantly. The microgrid has a unique concept which enables the seamless type of integration of these useful sources (DG) into main power system. The microgrid concept gives rise to a merged alliance of loads, production bases as well as energy devices for the purpose of storage interfaced through power electronics that are fast acting in order to make minor network in terms of power whose dimensions variations involve small number of communities to as large as a region of municipal. Smart grid has proved beneficial in the growing world of energy crises as it has proved to be the confluence of information and operational technologies which is utilized in the electric power grid. The links with local units of generation along with the utility grid results in decrease in power outages of microgrid. Moreover, it has the additional advantage of selling power to the grid (Al Ammar et al., 2020)
The aim that is of this focused study is to recognize the trades off along with synergies possessed by dynamic microgrids powered by solar PV in Saudi Arabia. For its achievement the objectives given below will be performed:
Knowledge about the benefits offered by these amazing technologies of solar power microgrids is significant as the energy requirements as those of electricity is increasing day by day and requires vast efforts to increase the resources and smart gadgets ensuring an annual increment in production as well as saving up of energy. Due to energy crises the need of smart devices like solar power microgrids has increased and will keep on increasing with time. Smart grid has proved beneficial in the growing world of energy crises as it has proved to be the confluence of information and operational technologies which is utilized in the electric power grid. Smart grids allow long term solution to customer’s increasing needs along with additional benefits like improved security, efficiency to utilities and reliability. Hence development of smart grid type technologies will be beneficial in this part of World, since KSA has quite a lot of potential to fulfil a fraction of world’s highly increasing need of electricity in this new era of deteriorating renewable energy resources. Power systems are enabled by smart grid type of vast technologies to operate in a unique way with huge number of these energy resources in such a way that the suppliers as well as the consumers can compensate for different irregularities associated with this unique intermittent nature of a number of renewable sources. These systems are gaining increased popularity as they don’t depend on a single, localized source of energy instead, they rely on variable potential energy sources. Many projects have been started in KSA for power generation which utilizes solar power microgrids and in future it is expected that other innovative projects will be introduced for power generation through renewable resources especially by solar energy utilization (Al Garni et al., 2016)
Rationale for current research based study is increasing demand and importance of microgrid powered by solar energy in the area of ample Sunlight, KSA. This research will focus on analyzing the required need of renewable energy in the area with higher energy demand. Solar power microgrids is the future of renewable energy resources which has now become the requirement of Saudi Arabia. All over the World, emphasize is on renewable energy resources as with time, the non renewable resources are decreasing and its reservoirs are diminishing. The areas of the world possessing ample renewable resources such as wind and high Sunlight can easily utilize them to generate clean, environment friendly energy given that, solar power generation plants are introduced in these regions. This study will bring forward different projects of the past introduced in the region of Saudi Arabia in order to utilize these renewable resources and also the targeted achievements and plans that the government of Saudi Arabia has adopted in order to fulfil the ever growing demands of electricity domestically as well as ways to create additional energy to sell it internationally for economic stable outcome and development of the region.
Dissertation focuses the comprehensive analysis of microgrids powered by solar energy in the region of ample sunlight, KSA and the increasing need of energy that is obtained from renewable resources in this area of the world. This dissertation will be bringing forward through discussion the different and unique mediums of renewable energy resources. In addition to the above stated, it will be focusing on the discussion of the economic implications as well as the environmental associations. The discussion will revolve around detailed analysis of amazing systems such as Photovoltaic system of Saudi Arabia which is unique in its design. The discussion will also involve the analysis of carbon released annually as well as diesel burning. The study will also involve quotation of diesel as well as the solar powered places. Other than this the dissertation will also involve the detailed discussion of different other renewable technologies that can be introduced in KSA to fulfil the energy crises and cause massive increase in energy production by usage of renewable resources and get their optimum utilization by direct or indirect ways. The dissertation will also point out different other renewable energy technologies that are a part of vast energy production in different parts of the world and can give huge outcome if Introduced in the region of ample sunlight, KSA. The conscious study will point out the advantages of usage of microgrids as well as will include a long discussion on fruitful measures that can be taken and innovations that can be made in the microgrid of KSA with the purpose to increase the output and decrease the faults that can cause their disfunction. Other than this many different projects of the past, present and future will be discussed in detail with regard to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where Solar power microgrids have proved useful or will in future be of great use.
Since the region of KSA is located at a geographically significant region, the sun belt, that has given this region an edge to be amongst the World’s biggest producers of solar energy. It is seen that Solar energy is highly beneficial and a serious and biggest competitor to old methods of conventional type of power generation in terms of cost effectiveness. Thus, processing and utilization of sunlight by the use of photovoltaic cells has proved to be an important and useful method of highly clean and environment friendly generation of energy. (Almasoud, M. Gandayh.,2015) It is seen that by implementing and utilizing mix policy of energy, the region of ample sunlight Saudi Arabia can overall save its limited resources of non renewable energy for utilization in future to support its impactful economic along with industrial growth. The discussion will help in prioritizing Renewable energy sources portfolio toward better sustainability and development (Al Garni et al., 2016)
In the past various useful surveys and researches have been done to analyze the potential of solar power microgrids. According to these previously done researches, the demand of electricity in Saudi Arabia just like other countries of the world has been rising significantly over the past years. Hence the need of products that utilizes renewable energy resources to generate electricity has increased significantly so that energy requirements can be fulfilled accordingly. A research done previously highlighted a very important fact about Saudi Arabia accepted universally and the reason for its economic stability as well as its popularity throughout Asia as well as other parts of the world is that Saudi Arabia is the largest producer as well as exported of petroleum along with petroleum based products. In addition, Saudi Arabia is bestowed highly potentiated energy sources that are renewable such as powerful wind energy as well as solar energy type. The vast reservoirs of solar and wind energies distributed throughout the region of Saudi Arabia can be linked and unified effectively into the grid by utilizing smart grid technology and upgrading and expanding the transmission facilities. Smart grids are highly effective and unique in the sense that it is auto balancing as well as self monitoring power grid which can use any source of power such as wind, sun and different fuels like oil. It also had additional benefit that it provides effective supply of electricity from suppliers to consumers (Pazheri et al., 2011)
A subsequent research highlighted the potential of microgrids powered by solar energy in KSA by uplifting a point that there will be a time that the crude oil reservoirs in the region of Saudi Arabia will exhaust and decline will come in energy production through these non renewable energy resources. Hence the solar power microgrids are the future of this region of the world as KSA is bestowed with energy in renewable form useful capitals like wind energy and solar power energy so along with crude oil which can overtime be not ideal for energy production due to deteriorating reservoirs. Smart grid has proved beneficial in the growing world of energy crises as it has proved to be the confluence of information and operational technologies which is utilized in the electric power grid. Smart grids allow long term solution to customer’s increasing needs along with additional benefits like improved security, efficiency to utilities and reliability. Hence development of smart grid powered by solar power will be beneficial in KSA as this region has quite a lot of potential to fulfil world’s growing need of electricity in this new era of deteriorating renewable energy resources. Due to vast variability in availability of resources the energy requirements cannot be fulfilled efficiently through renewable resources hence the need to obtain a decentralized and well distributed power network has increased which can be achieved through effective utilization of smart grid systems. These systems are gaining increased popularity as they don’t depend on single, localized energy source instead, they rely on variable potential energy sources ((PDF) Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Saudi Arabia through Smart Grid)
The smart grid has the ability to transmit small amount of power from less numbers of central power generating stations to a huge number of users or loads. The links with local units of generation along with the utility grid results in decrease in power outages of microgrid. Moreover, it has the additional advantage of selling power to the grid (Al Ammar et al., 2020). Smart grid technologies have given an edge to these grids to be able to route power in a variety of ways as well as in both directions. The smart grid has the capability to respond to different conditions which can occur at different areas during power generation, distribution, transmission and demand chain. Smart grids will probably have a unique and advanced control system that is capable of analyzing its activity and productivity by autonomous reinforcement learning controllers that will be self sufficient in the sense that they will manage behavior and functions of the grid for extreme environmental changes due to a certain probabilities of equipment failures. It has the unique features which ensure isolation of the areas affected as well as redirection of power flow in the areas surrounding the damaged facilities. Hence it has been seen to maintain power availability as well as increases reliability ((PDF) Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Saudi Arabia through Smart Grid)
A research discussed the present day transmission and distribution infrastructure of MV/LV of KSA which contains basically AC. An AC microgrid can be utilized as well as implemented on the existing conventional infrastructure by introduction of variable types of DGs, storage and high control. AC has certain back offs which challenges dynamics, effectiveness, power quality, system stability, safety along with protection. The system which is AC possesses unique unidirectional flow whose path include generation towards transmission towards distribution, finally towards consumer but microgrid ideally possesses bi directional type of power drift. Hence, a great DG modules possessing variable capacity are linked effectively to the main AC bus which is same for all, then both voltage level requires different protection schemes. It is seen that AC grid has a capability of centralized control. But in real, because of microgenerators which are bi directional, a control which is decentralized is required of LV distribution and MV network of distribution. The resulting increase in stabilized structure of network, communication along with crafty planning required in order to effectively maintain as well as operate the balance of this complex system of AC power (Al Ammar et al., 2020)
An increase in overall load demand can result in change in frequency. Since the relative relation essential load frequency is unproportioned so, DG introduction results in complications in control of frequency of the efficient system. Many resources that are renewable give DC power, these unique resources are therefore linked through DC AC effective interface to AC type bus directly, hence providing harmonics which and relatively higher and don’t have ‘inertia’ of any kind virtually (Ackermann, Andersson and Söder). The renewable resources are seen to be naturally fluctuating due to their high subordination on the changing surrounding habitat conditions. The rapidly variable exposure of sun with reference to PV and the wind speed for the working wind mill can cause fluctuations and results in higher voltage. It is less for small systems but for generation done on commercial basis then can result in vast fluctuations which are large to affect these current loads and system of distribution.
Micro generators are coordinated and linked with grid of AC utility effectively through inverter that possess circuit breaker capable to isolate the microgrid efficiently from the utility if fluctuations occur. In case of less fluctuations, it is seen that the breakers remain closed and hence, the voltages which are not balanced result in higher losses and malfunctioning on the loads that are sensitive. In addition, sags of voltage can result in defect when high number of current travels efficiently through path of low resistance for small numbers of cycles. Hence, AC bus is provided with unique power compensator possessing inverters which manage the voltage fluctuations and regulate passage of current throughout the utility microgrid (Wei Li et al., 2006). Renewable DGs have a disadvantage that they can feed active power without giving reactive power and therefore, can deteriorate the AC system’s power factor which causes over charging of bills (Barbosa et al., 1995). Due to this problem, there is a need of introduction of power factor compensator in between the AC bus of grid and distributed generators (Huang and Pai, 2001). Hence, there is a need to select the number of DGs in AC grid after stepwise strategy and planning in order to regulate and adjust the complexity of the system and sensitivity protection; otherwise severity of damage caused by a fault can increase (Al Ammar et al., 2020)
A research study performed by (Al Ammar et al., 2020) showed that with the advancement of electronics and load proliferation, many important equipment such as TV, computers and similar other households as well as equipment utilized for office work take advantage from DC and utilize it for their regular operations. This equipment in reality utilize rectifiers which are single phase along with voltage regulators that are DC. In industries also, many equipment utilizes DC or need conversion in two steps to function and operate the machines working with AC. Initially, this conversion transforms and changes AC DC and after that, changes DC to AC with the needed amplitude and frequency. Many renewable energy sources like photovoltaic (Benner and Kazmerski, 1999) and fuel cells (Wolk, 1999) create DC which have to be changed back to AC. A few sources of renewable energy e.g. wind turbines initially generate drives of AC motor which is then subsequently converted by the two level conversion which are needed for AC motor drives to acquire desirable voltage level and frequency.
After the latest advancement of commencement of DC system distribution at low and medium level of voltage, power conversion happening in the appliance can be easily avoided, and the losses can therefore be reduced. Effective AC/DC conversion possesses the ability to be consolidated, by using a highly controllable electronic steady power interface, comparatively high quality power can be obtained effectively for AC as well as DC system during prolonged steady state and high disturbances in grid of AC (Nilsson). Since a few converters are involved in the system so reliability is uplifted while harmonics is reduced. Connection or link of small size generation and back up energy storage is much easier in a DC system. If we consider the loads, vast systems already work on DC system which includes traction systems, vehicle, ship, telecommunication systems and transmission system HVDC. The system of telecommunication is operating at about 48V DC and voltage needs to be increased to reduce current flow (Yamashita et al., 1999).
The railway system used for public transportation functions through DC as well with the values starting from 600V to maximum of 3kV. The system of transmission HVDC is in operation to transmit large power with decreased losses. This also gives a chance to link two AC systems possessing variable frequency. Rotating loads that contain universal machines as well as AC drives that possess single phase, resistive loads which includes heating and lighting and electronic loads can function well on DC too. The load model (Nilsson, no date) and renewable or more appropriately micro sources (Kariniotakis et al., 2005) shows the DC microgrid feasibility to function well in grid connected as well as islanding mode. The main control in the absence of the frequency and phase will be easily simplified in this mode. The main problems and issues of the island operation of microgrid consists of voltage and frequency control, demand balance as well as supply, power quality, coordination issues of micro sources, and communication among the sources (Microgrid: Control techniques and modeling IEEE Conference Publication). The problems such as rate of recurrence and microlevel sources synchronization can be resolved fully while some can be partly solved or simplified such as power quality issue (Al Ammar et al., 2020).
Structure of Microgrid
It is observed that microgrid design has been based on preexisting distribution type infrastructure of the KSA as mentioned in The Saudi Arabian Code of Grid, Electricity Co Generation Authority Regulation,2007 in the month of May. The main components or parts of the Microgrid includes Wind sources, battery storage, solar sources and home loads.
Home Loads: It shows that the public household useful appliances are included in loads. The critical loads amount to about 12.1kVA, which should ideally be provided through batteries even though solar and wind contribution sums up to zero. With an addition of 40% to overall design it sums up to 17kVA. Hence the inverters of the batteries are ideally chosen to have about 3kVA rating providing about 18kVA in all and lasting maximum for 3 hours on a 200Ah battery backup. The voltage of transmission in KSA is over 132 kV which is a bit stepped down to over 13.8 kV at the small stations and afterwards to 400/231 V through the distribution transformer. Hence, the grid is greatly modeled by a 3 phase source of AC voltage of about 132 kV and then to transformer of about 132 kV 13.8 kV. After this it goes to another transformer of 13.8 kV 400/231 V, both the transformers mentioned are modeled specifically with actual parameters of the transformer. The model which is short line and equivalent to R and L have been utilized effectively for the cables. The distribution transformer contains the PCC hence, the power of the grid has to overcome distribution lines loss (Al Ammar et al., 2020).
Smart grid causes distribution of energy resources such as small wind generators, solar panels in residential areas and other common power sources which results in a positive impact to the area as small contribution starts from small businesses and individual houses to sell power to the residents of those areas, residents residing in nearby areas, other businesses in the surrounding area as well as back to the grid. It has additional advantages such as traditional load can be supported as well as renewable, microturbines, fuel cells and other different distributed generation technologies can be interconnected easily at regional, local, national and international levels. A noticeable increase in bulk transmission capacity calls out for improvements in the grid management transmission. The aim of these improvising techniques is to create a marketplace which is open to all where alternate and unique energy courses from far off locations can be sold easily to the customers at different locations. It has the benefit of utilizing capital assets while minimizing maintenance expenditure as well as operations.
The advantage of optimized power flow is that it maximizes the utility of lowest cost generation resources and in turn the waste is reduced. The best part is the intermittent nature of the renewable energy resources. Power systems are enabled by smart grid technologies to operate in a unique way with huge number of these energy resources in such a way that the suppliers as well as the consumers can compensate for different irregularities associated with this unique intermittent nature of a number of renewable sources. A research pointed out that the microgrid has a unique concept which enables ordered integration of these useful sources of DG into main power system. The smart grid has the capability to respond to different conditions which can occur at different areas during power generation, distribution, transmission and demand chain ((PDF) Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Saudi Arabia through Smart Grid). The design of microgrid (control type) is different, unique and challenging as it varies from the typical utility grid in a number of ways which includes steady state and unique, dynamic characteristics of DG sources coupled electronically. These are quite different from the old rotating generators, uncontrollable sources which are renewable make up an important and significant portion of the supply, storage devices of energy are available in the system, it should ideally connect as well as disconnect the sources without any interruption to loads. It is also essential to give pre specified power quality level and preferred service to certain loads, often useful in supplying heat energy too (Al Ammar et al., 2020). The microgrid is a unique invention that possesses the given components:
usually result from a power outage or fault in the main gA past research brought forward an amazing and effective use of solar power microgrids in the Kingdom of Saudi Area which is worthy to make a part of this discussion. The National Science agency situated in the region of Saudi Arabia brought forward an important point that desalination process in Saudi Arabia uses renewable energy resources which is contributing to decline in these resources and soon will result in exhaustion of these resources. It is estimated that a large amount of oil of about 1.5 million barrels per day is utilized in the desalination process which can be saved effectively if solar energy is utilized efficiently instead of usage of renewable resources. The solar power microgrids offer an excellent solution to this as they are a cost effective solution to meet the energy crises and save the world’s precious renewable resources. (Pazheri et al., 2011)
A research based study pointed out the importance of PV systems in the generation of energy especially in the region of Saudi Arabia. To begin the discussion, let us first become familiar with the classification of PV systems which includes flat plate PV and concentrated PV systems (CPV). The flat PV are more commonly used while CPV has about 40% efficiency which is quite high. However, CPV has a disadvantage that its operation needs sophisticated solar tracking systems and mostly is non operational in foggy and dusty environments as in these conditions limitation is observed in the amount of direct normal falling solar radiation which is required for CPV to perform well. Hence CPV is not very popular in KSA and has less contribution in the energy mix of KSA. Crystalline silicon cells utilizing solar energy are useful, efficient and popular technology in the ever growing solar industry and are commonly used. These cells are cheaper as compared to other types of solar cells and are a cost effective contribution to this growing field. However, Polycrystalline silicon (poly silicon) PV technology holds a more important place as current status of its popularity can be proved by the point that there are 90% commercial system of PV currently present in the world (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
With the increasing growth of unique PV systems globally, the operation and through maintenance O and M, of the popular PV systems are crucial therefore, should be critically considered. The life of a successful PV plant depends critically on the reliability of these O and M procedures whether for utility grid applications or for small scale solar applications. These are the processes and tasks including preventive maintenance, monitoring, corrective(remedial) maintenance and effective facility management. It is seen that the monitoring procedure is a list of things “to do” during normal operational measures. For small scale and especially residential applications, the micro inverters include all the automatic features in which there is minimal interference of humans. It stores along with monitoring of all the electrical parameters that are needed for automated operation from sunrise till sunset called real time too. For the solar power plants utility grid connected and stand alone, unique automated and instrumentation data acquisition system are craftly integrated into it. The systems operation mode also includes manual mode for the purpose of repair and troubleshooting. For automation decision process, the AC as well as DC voltages and currents are regularly monitored at intervals. Preventive maintenances include activities such as regular physical as well as visual inspections, verification activities, critical inspection of certain mechanical and electrical components and all the other important key components conducted with unique specific frequencies that are needed to comply with the operating manuals as well as recommendations introduced by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Troubleshooting as well repair is covered by Corrective maintenance done for the purpose to restore the working of unique PV system, component or equipment to a status, where it becomes capable to perform the required function. It usually occurs when the supervision and monitoring system senses a failure. This detection of malfunction can also take place during specific measurement activities and regular inspections. The main and critically important contemplation of this task is time utilized to restore back to full operational mode. The last thing to bring into knowledge is facility management, which refers to the overall efficient management of the site as well as the process (Haney and Burstein, 2013).
It points out towards fulfilment of the working ability of the power plant completely, which can be obtained by implementation of O and M procedures effectively. Reports that have been obtained from different PV system groups around the globe have estimated variable O and M costs. However, the estimation taken from the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) efficient working group proposed and pointed that O and M costs include about 0.5% of the initial cost per annum for big systems and 1% of the starting cost per annum for small useful systems, including the replacement of failed inverters that are not working optimally ((PDF) SAPC Best Practices in PV Operations and Maintenance Version 1.0). Considering the extreme environmental considerations in the region of Saudi Arabia such as extremely high temperatures and heavy dust, these prices could be higher (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
The aim of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels domestically as it steps forward to its Saudi Vision 2030 plan which has its variable social and economic objectives. Its vision is to decrease dependence on fossil fuels as well as reduce industrial imports by formation of substantial local industries to increase the economy. Its aim in to see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia become an exporting nation. The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of Saudi Arabia’s ministry of energy brought forward seven projects possessing 1.51 GW of total capacity. These processes are in the process of bidding and in future will surely create an estimated 4500 jobs during its construction as well as during 0 and M (PRESS RELEASE Saudi Arabia invites bids for Round Two of the National Renewable Energy Program) . Based on the data of employment of REPDO, it is estimated that over 60,000 jobs will be generated by the year 2023 as the ministry has planned 20 GW of PV projects (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
Previously, A joint collaboration started between United states of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year 1977. This collaboration with the name of Solar Energy Research American and Saudi possessed the aim to develop solar energy technologies for the purpose of mutual benefit of these countries. Another joint program which was started for mutual benefit was HYSOLAR between Germany and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of HYSOLAR was to encourage research, provide better development and demonstration of solar hydrogen production and to encourage Hydrogen use for carrying energy. After this a lot of other projects have also been started of mutual interests to contribute to the international PV projects. Effective collaboration of these reputable institutes along with innovative government policies that have prioritized the utilization of renewable products will in future enhance the local PV industry morale and will give rise to an era of development in this region of the world (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020). The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of Saudi Arabia’s ministry of energy brought forward seven projects possessing great capacity. These processes are in the process of bidding and in future will surely create many jobs during its construction as well as during 0 and M. (PRESS RELEASE Saudi Arabia invites bids for Round Two of the National Renewable Energy Program). Another very important project that aims to install designed PV system on the rooftop of mosque in Riyadh city classified as a “commercial size system” even though mosque is ideally a non commercial building (Elshurafa et al., 2019).
The above discussion shows that the DC bus has the capability to provide easier and simplified integration of sources of renewable energy in comparison to AC. The increased number of variables which have to be kept under control is the major setback for AC. The DC microgrid possesses more reliability due to decreased point of failures and hence, can be upgraded by integrating intermittent or unconventional micro sources. The quality power of DC is much better and easily controllable than AC and possess higher efficiency. However, a drawback of DC microgrid is that it requires higher investment due to former existence of AC infrastructure. But this drawback can be overcome as the running cost of a DC microgrid as compared to AC will be lower (Ullah, Haidar and Zen, 2020). The microgrid concept gives rise to grouping of local loads, high generation sources as well as energy devices for the purpose of storage interfaced through power electronics that are fast acting in order to make a small scale power network whose size can differ from a few houses to as large as a municipal region (Al Ammar et al., 2020).
This research work is a case study based wherein; the solar power micro grid in Saudi Arabia and its potential in the country is presented and analyzed. The research type is a case study based since this involves depth analysis, analyzing the matter contextually for the particular situation (‘Research Methods for Business, Uma Sekaran .Pdf’), within Saudi Arabia in this case. This research is both a qualitative and quantitative in nature for the purpose of exploring the potential of solar powered micro grid and its efficiency in Saudi Arabia and also what has been achieved so far in this field up till now. Case study based research helps in understanding the certain purpose or phenomenon for the particular situation and hence helps generating further empirical to be carried forward.
The research can be a causal or the correlational based on the purpose of the study. This research work is a correlational which involves delineating number of the variables and the factors relating to the problem statement as compared to the causal in which the cause and effect of the associated variables are delineated (‘Research Methods for Business, Uma Sekaran .Pdf’). For this study the number of factors affecting the usage of the solar power grids for the energy sector of the Saudi Arabia are described and how and too what extend these factors may affect the potential and the efficiency are stated here.
The research can be carried in a noncontrived setting which moves in a normal way or artificially called as contrived setting (‘Research Methods for Business, Uma Sekaran .Pdf’). Since this study is correlational for the factors analyzing the potential and the future of the solar power in KSA therefore a noncontrived setting is implied for the research to move normally throughout with minimum interference of the researcher for the case study.
A study can be undertaken in a way that the data is being gathered once for the primary data collection or the data of different time periods can be extracted from different sources and are reffered to as cross sectional and longitudinal studies respectively e (‘Research Methods for Business, Uma Sekaran .Pdf’). Since this study is correlational in which the secondary data is collected and then analyzed for the number of factors to be examined, so the study is logitudnal in nature.
The data can be obtained from the primary or secondary sources. The former refers to collection of the dat in first hand while the latter refers to obtaining the data from the already existing sources. Examples of the primary data can be interviewing, focus groups, questionnaire and panel interviews while that of secondary data includes government publications, company records, analysis provided by the researchers on the articles, websites, blogs etc. (‘Research Methods for Business, Uma Sekaran .Pdf’). This research will be focused primarily on secondary data analysis and the details of all peer reviewed authentic researches will be made a part of this research. The peer reviewed researches will be focused mainly on solar power microgrids in order to analyze their potential as well as the future of these unique and advanced technology in the region of Saudi Arabia. Secondary data sources includes those from conferences of the past such as Asia Pacific Power and Energy Engineering Conference, Wuhan held in 2011. Further, ample data in terms of quantitative analysis is provided regarding the use of Hubbert linearization method to evaluate the oil consumption in KSA and how oil reservoirs are exhausting with time. This points out towards the use of other renewable energy resources like solar energy. Progress made by the various research done in the same capacity by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in contact with Standford Research Institute has been reffered here.
In this research we have opted epistemology knowing the fact that KSA is a region of ample sunlight, various literatures have supported this fact and geographically it is true. The question that arises is how we can utilize this solar energy in a proper way to generate a massive economic turnout? How the projects that are operating in the region of Saudi Arabia are contributing to the optimum utilization of these solar energy resources? Are the designs of microgrids sufficiently effective in terms of cost that it will result in development of this region? All these questions have to be answered significantly so that the proposed methodology is undertaken to the next level.
This study not just only focuses on the projects previously introduced but has also predicted the future projects that can generate massive electricity hence pointing out towards the bright future that solar power microgrids hold in KSA.
Pragmatism have been adopted and the research problem that is to assess the potential of microgrids has been given top priority. The structure of microgrids along with their design specificities have been discussed, their advantages and disadvantages have also been discussed. Moreover, industrial applications have been given special consideration and made part of this paper.
Deductive approach has been taken and applied. Since it is known that Sunlight is ample in KSA so on this basis assessment of the potential of Solar power microgrids in KSA is done so that projects can be introduced which are beneficial not just to KSA but can supply power to other parts of the world as well. Analysis of the collected data has been done quantitively and the generated power capacity has been pointed out by collecting data from different journals. The data is then analyzed and conclusion is drawn regarding the work done before and work that has to be done in future.
The researches done in the past have pointed out significant data and figures. A critical research done previously brought forward the difference in the demand and supply of crude oil which is a critically important renewable source of power found mainly in OPEC countries. It has been seen that about 35% to 45% of the oil utilized all over the world is contributed by countries included in OPEC. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a part of OPEC countries and one of the biggest oil producers. It contributes the biggest share of about 30% in the ail produced by OPEC countries. It has been noticed that in the last decade a decline is seen in crude oil production as compared to its increasing consumption mainly for the purpose of power generation. It has been seen in KSA the rate of consumption of petroleum products has climbed up and the average growth of energy consumption has significantly increased. The per capita energy consumption shows 6.5% from 2000 to 2008 which has climbed up significantly as from 1990 to 2000 this rate was 4.7% which is quite low comparatively.
The recent top five net exporters of oil are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, Great Norway and the best UAE. These countries have a significant place in world as about half of the world’s crude oil needs are met by these countries. These oil exporter countries have shown an increase in domestic consumption of oil from 2000 to 2005 to about 3.7% per year. This rate has climbed up significantly from 2005 to 2006 due to rapid increase in utilization by +5.3% annually. Due to this rapid increase in consumption rate these countries had a downfall in the export of crude oil and the export rate from 2005 to 2006 has shown reduction to 3.3% per year. Hubbert linearization method showed 185 giga barrels will be the ultimate recoverable oil reserves in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Statics of oil production per year shows a peak in the production of oil in 2005 to about 9.5 million barrels per day (mbd) which was a recordable production. In the year 2008 the production decreased to 9.3 mbd. in the year 2009 there was a massive downfall and the production decreased even further reaching up to 8.1 mbd. A gradual A decline was forecasted after the year 2010 (Pazheri et al., 2011). According to a research it is estimated that 56% of the oil produced by Saudi Arabia and about 46% of natural gas produced by this region are now being used domestically (Pazheri, Othman and Malik, 2014).
A research based study has shown that in KSA, the rate of radiations obtained from sun annually reaches 250 watt/m2 which in Europe, countries in western Asia, many regions in Northern America as well as in various counties of Latin America the annual rate of solar radiations is lower and ranges 100 200 watt/m2. If we consider the regions of the world geographically it is seen that western region of North Africa to the eastern region of central Asia the countries contain large areas of deserts and other different geographical platforms having a very low annual rainfall ranging to about 6 7 kWh/m2/day. If we consider technically the conversion rate to produce electricity is much cheaper in these regions as compared to other developed regions of the planet as they have the additional benefit of receiving high amount of direct sunlight (Pazheri et al., 2011).
KSA is blessed with extreme windy regions which includes the Red Sea Coastal areas and the Arabian Gulf. It has been observed that in these areas the wind speed reaches to 16.7 km/h and varies at a range of 14 22 km/h in Arabian Gulf while in Red Sea coastal area a variation of 16 19 km/h is observed. In the regions of Red Sea Coastal areas, the mean annual density of wind energy is observed to range in between 250 to 500 kWh/m2 while in the inland areas this is rate is dropped to only 50 kWh/m2. It is seen that areas like Turaif, Dhahran, Jouf, Alwajh and Yanbu have average wind speed which is high enough to make wind energy and hence can be linked to power stations where smart grids help as well (Pazheri et al., 2011).
A research predicted that solar initiative taken for desalination of water will in future reduce oil consumption to 1.5 million barrels per day used for this purpose which was also one of the causes of rapid usage of non renewable resource. Moreover, in this research it was predicted that solar panel with 20 MW capacity can generate 200 300 GWh/year with the power plant area of 1.25 km2. if this worked about 500,000 barrels oil will be saved while per year of carbon dioxide release can be stopped. This initiative will be environment friendly as well as economical and will cause saving of precious non renewable resources (Pazheri et al., 2011).
A research based analysis showed that during summer AC utilize a lot of electricity. The solution that was provided is that the solar radiations in 12 hours during these extremely hot months are estimated to be 540 W/m2. It has been calculated that 50 kW will be the power required to run a building with 100 AC unit. If a PV solar panel of about 650 m2 is placed on top of the building it will be sufficient to provide them power and even so, the remaining energy after consumption can be supplied to nearby places or can be vend even in the market place through smart grid technology (Pazheri et al., 2011).
It is pointed out in a research that the popularity of renewable power industry is increasing with the passage of time. It has been observed that an uplift of about 1500 GW in the capacity of renewable power globally by the end of the year 2012. It was also predicted that almost 13% of energy demand globally can be covered by renewable energy till 2020. Saudi Arabia has set up a goal to achieve a target of 54 GW of the power capacity from renewable source by the year 2032 and it has been predicted that about 76% of this targeted capacity will be accomplished by solar power. The use of solar energy began in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year 1960. However, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) began a research along with development on technologies involving solar energy in 1977.
Saudi Arabia took an initiative to provide energy to three villages in the year 1980 by starting an innovative program named “solar village” by using solar energy as a renewable source. The project was unique in the way that it was a mega project of its type in that year. A great achievement of Saudi Arabia was the start of a massive first photovoltaic (PV) rooftop system which was placed on the rooftop of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal in the year 2010. It occupied about 11,600 m2 of roof area and possessed an installation capacity of about 2MW and contained 9,300 panels. This project was environment friendly and had the capacity to save about 1700 tons of carbon released and generated about 3281 MWh of energy in a year. In the year 2011, a solar plant having the power capacity of about 500 kW was started in Farasan Island located in Southwest of Saudi Arabia. This solar plant was unique in the sense that it saved the transfer of about 28,000 barrels of diesel in a year used to generate power in this Island.
Solar thermal plant started operating at Princess Noura University for Women (PNUW) near Riyadh in the year 2012 which was unique in a way that it the World’s largest solar thermal plant. The plant utilized 36,160 m2 of big flat plate solar collectors and generated 25 MW of thermal power. This thermal power was utilized to provide about 40000 students at PNUW with the facility of hot water. The save in conventional fuel by the use of this plant was about 52 million liters and the decrease in CO2 release was about 125 million kg in the system life of 25 years. Recently, photovoltaic carport system is built in Dhahran in North Park of Saudi Aramco’s headquarters. This area comprises the world’s biggest solar car parking lot. The total area that this parking lot covers is 4500 parking spaces and 120,000 above Copper Indium Selenide photovoltaic modules are placed in the parking lot serving as dual purpose of shades for parking lot as well as generate environment friendly energy through the use of renewable energy. In King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) situated in the city of Riyadh a big project was initiated by installing on the rooftop a 200kW photovoltaic plant containing over 800 PV modules. This plant can generate 330 MWh of environment friendly energy from renewable resource and hence it is estimated that about 180 tons of CO2 released will be saved every year.
Earlier in 2014 another concentrated photovoltaic plant (CVP) has been placed in a resort named Nofa Equestrian Resort situated in Riyadh. After this project another initiative that is upcoming is countries biggest ground mounted PV plant which is Saudi Aramco’s KAPSARC II project. The project will result in extreme increase in existing capacity of solar plant from 3.5 MW to about 5.3 MW. Makkah municipality has also played its role to the increasing popularity of solar power project and has planned three mega projects namely solar geothermal hybrid projects, 100 MW solar powered lightening project and 100 MW PV plant. Makkah municipality in the year 2012 has got bids to create 100 MW solar power project. The cost of this project of about 640 USD and has a lot of potential to generate environment friendly energy from renewable resources. It will cover an area of probably 2 million square meters and will have the capacity to meet the entire energy demand of municipality.
A plan to install integrated concentrated solar power (CSP) has been made by Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). it has also planned gas fired Duba 1 independent power project (Duba 1 IPP) that contains 550 MW of capacity at the place called Duba near Tabuk in the region of Saudi Arabia. Sec encouraged the start of applications for interest (EOI) in the month of December in the year 2013 in order to build this project. It has the importance of being first commercial CSP project work in the region of Saudi Arabia, designed in such a unique way that it is capable to integrate a parabolic trough unit of high capacity of about 20 30 MW. It utilizes natural gas as fuel mainly while Saudi Arabia Super Light Crude oil (ASL) is used as a fuel for backup.
This shows that in Saudi Arabia the future of solar power Industry is bright and many different projects started will generate eco friendly energy which is really beneficial not just for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but for the World as well. In order to collaborate on the development and utilization of nuclear and renewable energy in the region of Saudi Arabia Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K. A. CARE) signed an agreement of mutual interest in the month of august, 2014. The target pointed out of renewable, conventional and nuclear power capacities is Fossil Fuel 60 GW, Solar CSP 25 GW, PV 16 GW, Nuclear 17.6 GW, Wind 9 GW, Waste to Energy 3 GW, Geothermal 1 GW (Pazheri, Othman and Malik, 2014).
KSA is focused on the goal to install 27.3 GW of renewable energy by the year 2023. It is estimated that solar PV will contribute about 20 GW whereas 7.3 GW will be the summed up contribution of concentrated solar power (CSP) and wind. By the end of the year 2030, the numbers will climb up to 40 GW for solar PV, 16 GW for wind and 2.7 GW for CSP. About 32% of the recent power consumption estimated in 2018 of approximately 61.743 GW will be covered by this target. The price of solar PV has been reduced in order to achieve high level of solar energy generation. It is observed that government will soon initiate legal as well as regulatory frameworks for renewable energy deployment and also this will encourage investment by the private sector as well as partnerships between public and private sectors. It is seen that globally the polycrystalline silicon production has raised significantly from about 235,000 tons in the year 2014 to about 453,000 tons in the year 2016. About 10% of the total amount of polycrystalline silicon produced is used by semiconductor industries which shows that PV industry consumes a larger share in the current era.
Methods for polycrystalline silicon production includes Siemens process which is a conventional method and the fluidized bed reactor (FBR) method. The difference between the two processes is that Siemens process utilizes a large amount of energy in order to superheat silicon gas and results in deposition of pure silicon on seed silicon rods present inside a big refrigerator, while the other method called FBR method utilizes granules of purified Silicon in place of seed rods. The usage of energy in the conventional method which is the Siemens process has reduced from 80 kWh/kg in the year 2010 to 55 kWh/kg in the year 2015 but the FBR process still requires less amount of energy comparatively. Among the two methods of polycrystalline silicon production, the process which is metallurgical and directly produces polycrystalline crystals from metallic silicon has the lowest consumption of energy as well as cost. Due to these advantages’ countries including the USA, Canada and Norway are utilizing this method effectively. China’s increased production rate has given it the place of global leader as it produces about 50% of polycrystalline silicon all over the world which is entirely consumed within the country. Despite this increased level of production and the quality concerns of these domestic productions, the manufacturers in China import large amounts of poly silicon raw materials from Germany, Malaysia and Korea (Data Model and Data Acquisition for PV registration schemes and grid connection – Best Practice and Recommendations IEA PVPS).
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sand is present in abundance and so the country’s target is to maximize the production of polycrystalline silicon with in the country. The private sector is taking vast measures to help the Kingdom achieve this target by taking measures to convert sand which is rich in silica into the useful polycrystalline silicon. The first company to start the production of polycrystalline silicon in the Kingdom was The Polysilicon Technology Company situated in Jubail city present in the eastern province. This company took an initiative to form a factory which had the capacity of 3000 metric ton and utilized the hydro chlorination process also called Siemens process.
Moreover, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST; KSA) is in contact with Stanford Research Institute (SRI; USA) to gain knowledge as well as the latest technology developed at SRI involving the SiF4–Na process in order to gain high purity silicon with the plan of designing, building, and running a pilot plant. An increase in the cost of silicon of up to US $500/kg occurred in 2008 due to rapid increase in its demand by PV industries as well as semiconductor manufacturing industries. This significant increase in demand caused a massive shortage in supply and hence resulted in increase in cost. However, this price gradually decreased to about US $13/kg by the end of the year 2015. This significant decrease was seen due to an uplifting in the rate of production and introduction of new manufacturers in the ever growing market. During the period of shortage many of the PV module manufacturers signed huge supply contracts for a prolonged duration which has resulted in increased cost of PV modules till this day (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
The second step of PV manufacturing value chain is the formation of ingots and wafers. It is seen that a highly purified polycrystalline silicon is utilized in the formation of a single ingot of crystalline silicon or multi crystalline silicon abbreviated as mc Si ingots. The first type of silicon is utilized in microelectronics as well as PV industries and the second one is utilized in the PV industry. The most commonly used process adopted for the production of a single crystal ingots is the Czochralski methods. In this method molten silicon is pulled upward under rotation to form a cylindrical single crystal ingot. The wafers that are cut from these ingots have a regular as well as perfectly arranged crystalline structure. The formation of Si ingots utilizes a furnace to convert the silicon which was previously molted into cast ingot blocks which are then cooled slowly to form many small crystals in a block. The mc Si ingot blocks are then cut into wafers of thickness of over 150 micrometers. Final process includes cleaning and polishing of crystals and then these crystals are inspected (Fisher, Seacrist and Standley, 2012). It is seen that about 60 GW of wafers were formed in the year 2015, where the dominant of the global market was China with around 80% of the total contribution in the production (Sharma, Jain and Sharma, 2015).
The current knowledge shows that ingot factories and wafer manufacturing businesses have still not been presented in KSA. But, in coming few years these businesses are predicted to become the main targeted industries for the formation of PV components. Wafers can easily be damaged after performing slicing so both the surfaces of the wafer require etching by using a wire saw to remove the defects. The wafer surface also requires texturing in order to reduce the reflection of incident solar radiation to 70% and more. Amorphous silicon (A Si) can be easily and efficiently textured by utilizing the process of chemical texturing while texturing which is done mechanically is utilized for multiple crystalline structured silicon(mc Si) due to its crystalline nature and structure. The dopants as impurities are made a part of the wafers to create p n junctions. For perform of the above mentioned procedure, high temperature furnaces are required however, screen printing as well as chemical vapor deposition can also be utilized for this purpose (Xakalashe, Tangstad and Africa, 2011). Then the wafer is electrically isolated from front as well as from the rear side and application of anti reflection coating is place to induce further decrease in reflection of light as well as to maximize absorption of solar energy (Saga, 2010).
The process of metallization to create a metal contact is a crucial as well as important step in the manufacturing of cell because it possesses incredible properties like (1)short circuit current, (2)fill factor, (3)open circuit voltage which depends mainly on the contact quality. The most commonly and widely acceptable concept is the use of Front facing contacts which face the Sun directly however it is seen the backside contacts are better in terms of overall performance (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020). Cells which possess back metallization have the advantages listed: (1) the contacts do not shadow the area of absorption which is reason to get 5% increased power as compared to the PV module standardized form. (2) it possesses a simple assembly of cells where 30% reduced manpower is required as compared to the standard assembly of PV module which cause a significant reduction in the manufacturing costs ((PDF) Diamond wire sawn silicon wafers from the lab to the cell production, no date). The efficiency of cell conversion can be increased by operating at 4 degrees Celsius reduced nominal operating temperature of the cell (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
Considering the methods mentioned above of production, KACST is operating with yearly output of about 100 MW, which in turn is feeding a module production line of about 100 MW. A double printing technology is utilized by this facility for the purpose of printing in the front and hence is a highly advanced process of screen printing for solar cells manufacturing. The use of printing pastes is decreased by this technology (e.g. aluminum and silver) by about 30% in comparison to the standardized method of screen printing. Additionally, achievement of narrow finger widths is possible. This causes the shadow area to be lower comparatively and hence results in capturing of more photons by the solar cells. In this way the cell efficiency is overall increased effectively. In 2016, the production officially started in which KASCT imported and utilized solar cells which were semi finished and had undergone anti reflection coating in order to test the process of metallization. The contacts on the front side are made by screen printing silver, while the side of the solar cell which is at the backside possesses aluminum coating, and for the purpose of bus bar printing a mixture made of aluminum and silver is utilized.
KACST has the ability to operate at R and D back contact assembly line which as the unique ability to work in an autonomous way. It is seen that special type of screen printing device achieves a unique type of back side printing by the use of metal pastes that are placed in metal inline ideally on the backside. It is also evaluated that the double printing (DP) idea has been at present introduced in KSA (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
Many of the crystalline silicon modules have assembly lines that are located near to cell factories where the process of manufacturing takes place. It is advantageous by strategy to place unit assemblage lines near to end users in order to circumvent exporting of glass and aluminum frames which are bulky materials. A large number of PV cells generally about 10 12 cells are present in the assembly of modules which are connected in a unique form of series to make up a string. Then a group of these strings which includes usually 6 strings in number are linked in series to make the central PV module element. This highly useful element is then laminated in between two ethylene vinyl acetate sheets (EVA), which then utilizes special and unique kind of glass at the front and at the bottom includes polymeric sheet. Then the frame is made with anodized aluminum bars (anodized). At last, a junction box is utilized and fixed to the side(rear) of the module (Xakalashe, Tangstad and Africa, 2011).
PV modules production was 63 GW in the year 2015. The largest contributor to this production was China, it produced about 69% of the total production. The target of KSA is about 58.7 GW of renewable energy. This target is to be achieved by the year 2030 under Saudi Vision 2030 (‘NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM | KSA Climate’). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has really impressive potential naturally for wind and solar power but it is expected that the energy consumption will be doubled locally by the year 2030. It is also seen that a competitive and efficient renewable energy sector in terms of the increasing demand is lacking in the present era and more investment needs to be done. In order to develop this sector and make it grow more, the ministry of energy has taken an initiative and has set up an initial target of 27.3 GW energy generation from renewable by the year 2023. The aim of this is to localize a large and significant portion of the energy value chain that is renewable in the Saudi economy, including manufacturing of R and D (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
The plan for solar PV project in KSA has been at last finalized and the first stage execution will start in the year 2018. The target of this project is 2.22 GW by the completion of 2019. The target is expected to reach 40 GW by the year 2030 (‘NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM | KSA Climate’). These programs are being executed along with unveiling of the grand “National Industrial Development and Logistics Program” (NIDLP) which is included in the 12 programs of the grand Saudi Vision 2030. The program has the objective to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a global leader and an influential industrial powerhouse in logistical services. This will result in the growth and development of four key sectors which includes industry, energy, mining and logistics. This would in turn contribute to the successful localization of production in these high state industries, which would generate job and career opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabia, enhance balance in trade and will maximize the local content (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
In KSA, few PV unit assemblage lines witnessed to have been opened lately which provide several hundreds of MW yearly. The materials to these assembly lines are provided by existing aluminum, local glass and petrochemical industries with high specifications. These industries include renowned “Saudi International Petrochemical Company” (Sipchem) which recognized an innovative EVA construction factory with the name of the “Wahaj factory” situated in city of Hail in the northern part of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The factory has a total capacity that could fulfil the need and requirement of about 700 MW of solar panels. They offer a wide range of EVA grades where their unique fast cure EVA and the amazing new ultra fast cure EVA products could decrease the time of lamination during manufacturing of solar cell and enhance the output of assemblage line (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
It is seen that mainly 3 kinds of PV inverters are there which include the following (1) module level micro inverters (2) string inverters which include medium scale inverter that can power about 100KW (3) central inverters which include large scale huge inverters that are capable to power about few MW. The micro and string inverters are utilized for small scale applications typically on the rooftop while in utility scale PV plants central inverters are used. It is seen that the efficiency of the recently introduced inverters is increasing along with a significant decrease in its size and cost as new and innovative inverters are being introduced. These innovations have become possible due to advanced and unique semiconductor devices made from Si carbide along with gallium Nitride. These devices have improved control and communications which allows the inverters to play a significant role to the development of reliable and efficient smart grids (Barnett et al., 2009). KSA possesses firm and unique set up for the growing power electronic device industry. It includes “The New Shams PV Inverter Production Line” launched in September 2015 by Advanced Electronics Company that can generate about 2000 units or about 1 GW annually (AEC and KACO new energy launch inverter production in Saudi Arabia. – SAPVIA).
Additionally, KACST has localized and transferred the unique design features and assembly of micro as well as string type inverters. This functions at an assemblage line capable to generate about 50 MW of string inverters annually. (AlOtaibi et al., 2020). Another important thing is the balance of system (BoS) which refers to all other critical components which are necessary to integrate the unique and innovative photovoltaic panels and inverter along with the electric utility supply or the building load. Such useful components account for almost half of the price of a PV plant while the remaining half of the cost is shared by modules and inverters. The important components needed for the protection along with energy supply conditioning such as mounting trackers and structure, wiring of AC and DC portions of the system, automatic protection equipment as well as manual switches, solar trackers or structures where mounting of PV modules take place.
Energy storage has been seen to be essential for the off grid systems also known as stand alone. An appropriate designing of off grid solar system is required so that enough power can be generated yearly and possess sufficient battery capacity in order to meet home requirements. The BOS of this system includes parts such as charge controllers and battery bank. More complicated solar (PV) systems comprise of fundamentals like a weather station, a unique solar operated tracking system, well versed computing system for data monitoring as well as for automated operation and recording. For the purpose of utility scale installations, a substation and transformer bank can be introduced in order to supply their output to the electric grid. Almost 50% of PV plants categorized as utility scale in the process of building are equipped with the unique single axis tracking system. The advantage of these tracking systems is that they increase the plant’s output power by 20% with less than 10% increment in the cost of the plant (Data Model and Data Acquisition for PV registration schemes and grid connection – Best Practice and Recommendations IEA PVPS). Many beneficial industries basically required to manufacture the BOS components are present in KSA and hence, can contribute to a greater extend in the production of many of the required components. These components can be produced through steel industries, cable producers and installation contractors who are eager to join this vast, growing field (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020).
Different studies brought forward the discussion of highly important projects utilizing the renewable resources. Amongst them the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of Saudi Arabia’s ministry of energy brought forward seven projects possessing 1.51 GW of total capacity. These processes are in the process of bidding and in future will surely create an estimated 4500 jobs during its construction as well as during 0 and M ((PDF) Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Saudi Arabia through Smart Grid). Based on the data of employment of REPDO, it is estimated that over 60,000 jobs will be generated by the year 2023 as the ministry has planned 20 GW of PV projects (Alotaibi, Alotaibi and Ibrahim, 2020). A study showed that mosque situated in the capital of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh placed a commercial size PV on its rooftop. The area that the mosque covered was almost 2,300 square meters.
For PV sizing, load profile was estimated. A load data was collected of the complete year with 5 min resolution. Two load profiles were made respectively, one for summer and other for winter day. As per our expectations, a high alteration in load was seen when winter and summer time was compared as during summer the load increase due to usage of air cooling system. The difference seen is excess of 100 kW during those peak hours. The rise or peak that happened around 4 a.m. was due to gatherings for prayer at dawn. The highest load as per sample provided was approximately 140 kW. The peak was even higher roughly 176 kW and occurred mainly in the evening. The lowest load was of 2 kW seen between dawn and noon. All this data helped in selecting the PV capacity that should be ideally installed. The research showed that according to prevailing charges of electricity and expenses of PV CAPEX, the observation put forward is that it is monetarily suitable for mosques to utilize and install PV systems even if policy support doesn’t exist. In order to reduce the annual bill of mosque to nearly zero and to complement this theoretical analysis, a physical PV system was designed and installed at a Capex of about 1.18 US$/W in the year 2017. The capacity factor attained after measuring the installed system had been about 18.2% (Elshurafa et al., 2019).
From the above discussion the following points can be concluded:
The solar power microgrids hold a high potential in KSA as in the region of Saudi Arabia almost all the population needs electricity. However, about 2.15 million m2 of area of the region of Saudi Arabia which includes a large numeral of villages, societies, and countryside areas that utilizes generators working on diesel to generate power for domestic use with the help of isolated grid (Rehman and Al Hadhrami, 2010) and (Rehman and El Amin, 2015). According to data collection done in 2016, about 50 remote areas all over the Kingdom were powered by diesel. Additionally, over 19,000 houses had been relying on diesel generation on site to meet the energy requirements as mentioned in “Saudi Household Energy Survey 2017”. Amongst these, some inhabitants must be purchasing diesel through the nearest gas stations. This shows that those inhabitants utilized diesel which had to be actually utilized by the transportation sector.
It is predicted that renewable technologies possess potential to provide energy to these areas in a cost effective way, and Solar photovoltaic (PV) are a part of it. The high rate at which Solar photovoltaic (PV) have been stationed globally is remarkable. In the year 2016, targeted 75 GW of PV were stationed all over the world, and in the subsequent year about 100 GW installation of PV were recorded. By the end of the year 2017, it is seen that the combined collective capacity (PV) installed globally touched 400 GW. (REN21, 2017). This represents a bit fewer than 1/5th of the overall installations involving renewables around the globe. Additionally, low maintenance as well as operational costs is needed to run a solar system, high decrease in module prices which have been decreased to (0.30) $/W, thus one time cost (capital cost) proved to be the main contributor to PV deployment globally (Elshurafa et al., 2019).
The national policy made for technological and scientific progress adopted by KSA is the basis for the Kingdom’s future RE development. This policy is in accordance with the objectives, goals as well as directions for development of the region in the future. Recently, the awareness regarding RE opportunities has been spread because of the decrease in oil prices and due to a universal fact that reserves of oil are limited and will soon exhaust in the future. The government has made “King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy” (KACARE) in order to monitor the RE policies and ensure its strict implementation. The government has established a well known center of research excellence in RE whose purpose is to perform research related to optimum utilization of energy (solar) in KSA. This center of research excellence in RE is situated at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to perform research regarding solar energy (Al Garni et al., 2016).
KSA has planned already that by the year 2032 it will include about 41 GW of solar power as an alternate energy source to the growing domestic energy requirement. (Almarshoud et al.,2016) “The Saudi Arabian Solar Society” has been set up in order to assist and guide novices in the industry sector of solar power through establishing systematic informative workshops as well as seminars regarding business by utilization of solar energy (Alyahya and Irfan, 2016). All these steps have helped a lot in bringing forward the importance of solar power to the inhabitants of KSA.
The microgrids possess AC as well as DC bus amongst the two, the DC implementation is more beneficial for Saudi Arabia and holds the future of renewable energy usage in KSA. These solar power microgrids have been used effectively in the past for various solar controlled projects in the KSA and are being introduced with new and innovative changes to increase their lifetime and energy production abilities. The target of KSA is energy in renewable form of about 58.7 GW. The given target has to be achieved by year 2030 under Saudi Vision 2030. This plan possesses many social as well as economic objectives and its vision to decrease the overall dependence on imports done by industries by forming substantial and useful local industries in order to help in growth of economy with a great aim to be an upcoming exporting state. This aim to be domestically able to produce useful solar apparatuses can be achieved as natively various raw materials are available for production of value chain. Additionally, proficiency in consultancy, planning and administration, and the manufacturing of modules, solar powered cells, tracking systems, inverters, mounting systems, and wiring has been present domestically.
The region of Saudi Arabia possesses body of researchers as well as major public sector laboratories. Effective linking and coordination of these reputable institutions along with the policies made by the government to give renewable products a priority is predicted to enhance as well as increase the self esteem of the domestic industry (PV) and cause massive growth. It is expected that many local jobs will create through this step in KSA in relation to the sector involved in PV manufacturing, development of projects, marketing and sales as well as installation. High consideration is given to the prospected main market and residential power systems if regulations, tariffs and policies are instituted properly. Hence, the introduction of new and improved solar power microgrids in KSA will play a big role in achieving this target as all the new projects signed require these useful solar power microgrid technology to become fruitful in the future. It is seen that by implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 the solar energy sector will grow and prosper and hence will bring economic stability and energy self sufficiency to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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