Solar power for lighting homes under study: ECRA

Abdullah Al-Shehri

Saudi Gazette report

— A tripartite committee is currently studying lighting homes with solar energy, Makkah newspaper reported on Sunday quoting Abdullah Al-Shehri, governor of the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA).

He said the committee consists of the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), King Abdullah City for Renewable Energy and Al-Khaleej Laboratory for Electrical Industries.

“The tripartite committee will specify the requirements for the companies that will install solar energy panels and also the modalities for granting them licenses,” he said.

Shehri said the ECRA was also working with the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) to issue the specifications for the solar panels that will be used to generate power at homes.

He said there were a number of factories in the Kingdom producing solar panels. “Therefore, the quality of the panels is increasing while the prices are dropping, making them affordable for everyone,” he added.

The chairman said another committee would complete studying the smart electricity meters within the next two months. “The committee will determine the time needed to install the smart meters,” he added.

Shehri said so far not a single smart meter has been installed but he explained that the SEC would offer tenders for the installation of about 2.5 million smart meters across the country.

“The current meters are not smart but are digital ones that cannot be read from a distance,” he said.

Shehri said when they would be installed, the smart meters could be read simultaneously from the control center in Riyadh.

“The smart meters are a condition, not an option,” he said, adding that their mass production is estimated to cost about SR10 billion. He made it clear that the subscribers will not incur the cost of the meter but will have to pay for its installation.