Saudi Arabia’s desalination client Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) is planning to develop a solar-powered desalination plant.

Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi on 20 January, Abdulrahman al-Ibrahim, governor, SWCC, said that the planned 60,000 cubic metres a-day (cm/d) Khafji desalination plant will be developed under the independent water project (IWP) model.

Al-Ibrahim said that the Advanced Water Technology (Taqnia) would own and operate the plant, while SWCC would buy the desalinated water.

Abdullah abdulaziz al-Alshaikh, CEO of Taqnia told the conference that the Khafji plant will use photovoltaic (PV) panels, and that the plant will require a 14MW capacity to power the seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant.

Al-Alshaikh said that the plant will be a hybrid facility, that will use solar during sunlight hours and will be connected to the grid for power in the evening, which will enable 24 hour operation.

The plant will be the first water plant that has been procured using a public-private partnership (PPP) developer model for a number of years, with SWCC having tendered its last independent water and power project (IWPP) in 2007.