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The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with Desert technologies Group, the first Saudi manufacturer and exporter of solar panels in the Kingdom, aiming to rely on solar energy to operate 5G network towers
throughout Saudi Arabia. Using SAHARA containerized solar generators to supply communication towers with solar energy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in their operations, especially with the Ministry’s expansion of 5G services.
The number of governorates that have 5G coverage has reached 60 governorates in various regions of Saudi Arabia. The memorandum also aims to expand strategic cooperation between the Ministry and Desert Technologies Group to implement joint projects to support and develop investment in digital infrastructure, technologies, and renewable energy in Saudi Arabia and neighboring developing countries, especially African countries in the Sub-Saharan Region. This is with the support of the Ministry of Investment represented by “ The National Companies Promotion”, which is one of the Saudi Vision 2030 programs, which aims to stimulate National companies with promising opportunities in regional and global leadership and strengthen their positions to support the Saudi economy globally.
The memorandum was signed by Eng. Bassam Abdullah Al-Bassam, the Deputy minister of Telecom & Digital Infrastructure and representing the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and by Mr. Khaled Ahmed Sharbatly, the Partner and Group Chief Investment Officer at Desert Technologies Group. The signing was on the sidelines of the “LEAP 22” international conference held in Riyadh February 1 st – 3 rd, 2022, under the slogan “An Eye on the Future” and was organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in cooperation with the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones.
In a statement on this occasion, Eng. Bassam Al-Bassam, Deputy minister of communications and Information Technology, stressed that this agreement comes as an extension of the ministry’s plan to promote expanding the use of renewable energy in its projects, especially in the operation of 5G towers to support Saudi Arabia’s leaps in telecommunications infrastructure. As well as developing digital capabilities, achieving the objectives of the ICT sector strategy 2023 derived from Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, achieving zero neutrality and enhancing Saudi Arabia’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Eng. Al-Bassam concluded his statement by indicating that the private sector plays a strategic role in developing renewable energy projects in the Kingdom.
In this context, the CEO of the National Company Promotion under the Ministry of Investments, Mr. Badr Albadr stated that the ministry is keen to enable promising national companies with various specializations and interests to have a strong presence and investment in global markets. The Ministry seeks to open horizons for distinguished foreign investment opportunities for them after studying, analyzing, and developing them in cooperation with Ministries, government agencies etc. This is what we see in this qualitative investment agreement and other major national projects in various countries of the world, which came from the company’s work effort to expand globally, especially the continent of Africa, which is evidence of the strength and strength of the Saudi economy at various levels.
From his end Mr. Khaled Sharbatly, partner and group CIO of Desert Technologies, expressed his happiness at signing the memorandum and considered it an important turning point in Desert Technologies Group’s efforts to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030, adding that constructive cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in the field of solar energy will contribute to strengthening efforts to localize this vital sector. This will Enhance the local manufacturing of the required components to produce solar energy locally, which qualifies Saudi Arabia to become a global center for solar energy and its technologies.
He added that the increasing global demand for solar energy storage solutions, technical improvements, cost reductions as well as increased interest in solar batteries and the technology witnessed by the solar panel industry represent elements that enhance
opportunities for safe investment in this sector. Saying: “It is one of the best options for securing low-cost electricity and emissions, and products used in generating electric power in remote areas through renewable energy are an important addition to achieve the goals of the United Nations aimed at supporting developing countries, where about 800 million African citizens are still deprived of electricity. This enhances the role of investment in solar energy in the African continent and contributes to the recovery of the energy sector Renewable energy due to its reasonable installation costs, whether it is done by Sahara product which is ideal for off-grid sites or other similar products powered by renewable energy and batteries”.
Mr. Sharbatly stressed that digital energy, which allows remote control of power generators, contributes to studying and adjusting energy production according to need and regulating energy consumption in rural areas and remote areas far from the grid. The lack of electrical supply or network communication will prevent individuals from benefiting from the massive potential of the digital world. “Within this framework, Desert Technologies mainly focuses on providing equipment that operates independently from the main electricity grid, which enhances the company’s contribution to achieving economic growth for many disadvantaged communities.”