Solar workshop in Riyadh

German and Saudi representatives as well as research institutions of both countries discussed the basics of future cooperation in a joint workshop in the construction of solar power stations in Saudi Arabia. In this context, the cooperation in solar thermal power generation (Concentrated Solar Power / CSP) gained special attention.

The two-day event gathered more than 100 participants. Germany was represented with some 40 managers of 17 companies and institutions, the Saudis were represented with more than 60 participants from 28 research institutions and companies. Discussions about future cooperation in two specific areas were in the focus of attention: Research and industry cooperation.

Meshari Al-Khaled of the public Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority SAGIA called the convenation “an event of high significance for knowledge transfer and the development of future technologies in the Kingdom” of Saudi Arabia. The Secretary General of the umbrella association of the Saudi Chambe of Trade and Industry, Khaled Al-Otaibil thinkgs the workshop (is) “the start for cooperation in an industry sector that will help to foster and promote the demands and needs at both ends.” Dieter Haller, German Ambassodor in Riyadh, was the Patron of the event. Haller called the workshop a “unique event that served as the basis for cooperation in the industry as well as in research and development between the two countries.”

The workshop was initiated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the European competence centre for power generation. The Berlin based Federal Ministry for Environmental Affairs (Bundesumweltministerium BMU) has a traditionally strong interest in the research cooperation with countries of the MENA region in solar power and was one of the supporters of this highly respected event.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to research development between the two countries. This day was hosted by the K.A. CARE (King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy). K.A. CARE shall be responsible for the Saudi Government’s Programme on promotion and development of solar energy generation. DLR K.A. CARE entered a cooperation agreement on central topics of CSP technologies. The research cooperation will have a strong focus on practice; integral parts are CSP applications such sea water desalination.

The second day focused on industrial collaboration between companies. This seems ever more important since Saudi Arabia connects the development of solar power stations with the goal of developing their national energy industry. The outstanding experience made by the German solar industry and the high standards of their products play an important role.

Saudi Arabia announced to build solar power stations with an overall capacity of 41 Gigawatt by 2032. 26 Gigawatt are planned to employ solar thermal technology that is particularly appropriate for Saudi Arabia. As Dr. Maher Alodan, K.A. CARE’s research director,emphasised, this helps to “drive the Kingdom of Energy to become the Kingdom of Sustainable Energy”.

The workshop’s business day was organised by the recently founded industrial association “German CSP”. The Berlin based consulting agency “hogrefe Consult”, an expert for German-Arab cooperation in the field of sustainability, was responsible for the organisation.


CSP technology (concentrated solar power) turns the sun’s power into heat that is used to generate electricity steam turbines. Such power stations can operate especially efficiently in regions with high direct solar radiation, i.e. in the Earth’s sun belt on both sides of the equator to the 35° latitude.

Using CSP plants resembles conventional steam power plants. The most important difference, however, is that CSP plants use solar radiation for emission-free, clean heat generation instead of fossil or nuclear fuels. Among possible CSP technologies, parabolic through power plants are most widely used so far and look back on thirty years of experience. Additionally, solar towers and Fresnel power plants are setting foot on the CSP market. CSP power plants are absolutely appropriate for large scale technological use in between 10 and 300 MW electric power and could replace conventional thermal power plants without qualitative changes in the structures of the grid. Heat storage and/or hybridisation enable the turbines of CSP plants to generate power also in times of low solar irradiation or during the night. This makes it possible to ensure a reliable and plannable power supply for stable networks.

German participants:

German Aerospace Center, (DLR), German Embassy in Riyadh, Bilfinger Piping Technologies, CSP Services, erfis, Fichtner Solar, Ghorfa, hogrefe Consult, ILF, Kraftanlagen München, Lahmeyer International, M+W Group, Novatec Solar, schlaich bergermann und partner, Schott Solar CSP, Solar Tower Systems, Suntrace, protarget


Stephanie Wolff
Deutsche CSP

Clausewitzstrasse 7

10629 Berlin

Tel.:+49 30 609839438