State utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has prequalified developers to participate in its first major standalone renewable energy projects.

The utility provider sent out letters to prequalified companies on 1 October, notifying them of their inclusion for the impending issuance of tenders for the independent power projects (IPPs), according to sources close to the schemes.

Developers had submitted prequalification proposals on 4 August for the contracts to develop 50MW photovoltaic (PV) solar plants at Al-Jouf and Rafha in the northern part of the kingdom. The projects will be developed under the IPP model, with SEC set to be the offtaker for all of the power produced from the plants.

SEC is aiming to issue tender documents to prequalified groups before the end of October, with a bid submission date likely in January 2017. The client is aiming to sign the power purchase agreement (PPA) and reach financial close by the end of May 2017.

The UK’s HSBC has been appointed as financial consultant, with the UK’s DLA Piper as legal consultant and the Netherland’s DNV as technical consultant.