Mecca Municipality has received bids from two consortiums to build a 100MW solar power plant, which could make it the first city in the kingdom to develop a renewable energy project.

Developers were asked to bid how many months post-construction they would require a SR10m capacity payment from the municipality, based on building a 100MW, 50MW, or 25MW solar plant.

The local Acwa Power submitted the lowest bid for the 100MW and 50MW options (129 months and 94 months respectively), while the UK’s EDF Energy and the local Al-Gihaz submitted the lowest bid of 93 months for the 25MW option. Bids were opened on 5 January.

Saudi Arabia is planning to invest $109bn to create a solar power industry that can provide a third of the kingdom’s power needs by 2032, according to Khalid al-Suliman, vice-president at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care). To hit the target of producing 41,000MW of solar power in the next two decades, KA-Care is targeting 16,000MW from photovoltaic panels, and the rest from solar thermal technology, which concentrates heat from the sun on warming liquids to drive a power turbine.

It is unclear how the Mecca scheme fits in with Riyadh’s wider energy policy goals being developed by KA-Care.