Solar Housing in KSA

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is blessed with high solar radiation culminating in a hot climate requiring appreciable amount energy to support modern living conditions and provide comfort in the built environment. The resultant high and ever-growing energy consumption, derived from fossil fuels, is recognised as problematic in terms of pollution, carbon emissions and security of supply. Under its Vision 2030 the KSA has embarked on reforms of its economy including the energy sector, where renewable energy targets have been set couple with large investment to support low carbon energy supply expansion. ECCD research addresses KSA’s Vision 2030 and contributes studies to support the renewable energy targets. In this multi-million dollar project the research is addressing energy consumption in buildings which is approximately 60% of all consumption in KSA. The focus is on air conditioning and other building loads currently supplied by fossil fuel. Electricity is produced at the building level from solar photovoltaics (PV) systems to shave off buildings’ electrical loads. The project is supported KSA Ministry of Educationunder its renewable energy programme and addresses Grand Challenge 2 “Increase the reliable transmission and storage of renewable energy to account for 4% of total energy use”.

The overall aim of the research is to investigate and provide evidence as to the role of solar energy systems in reducing electricity demand in residential buildings, contributing to national aspirations. The research will encompass 20-50 different technology interventions in buildings coupled with detailed analysis that will (a) provide understanding of typical households’ consumption profiles, and the impact of the interventions on these, (b) provide guidance to future planning to inform policy and (c) provide large scale dataset for current and future researchers and (d) modelled scale up of such interventions across KSA to support the set renewables targets.

Overall, the research will also aim to develop capacity building in this important area of energy, scope KSA’s built environment driven renewable energy provisions and how such provisions can contribute to the overall national targets whilst providing understanding of how this local PV power generation impacts electrical networks.