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In an interesting conversation with SolarQuarter Middle East magazine, Mr. Saif Bdeir – Managing Director, HAALA Energy gave us details about the company’s presence and operations, engineering capacity, and the quality measures adhered to at their project sites. He also spoke about the tech trends shaping up in the region and where the solar PV C&I market is headed in Saudi Arabia.
Please brief our readers about Haala Energy’s presence in the Middle East region along with the services you provide.
Haala Energy is a solar PV EPC service provider focused on the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment in Saudi Arabia. We design, install and maintain on-grid and off-grid PV systems in the range of a few hundred kW to multiple MWs. Haala Energy has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 2016 and is now an SEC-qualified solar PV contractor for up to 2MW.
Kindly brief our readers about your engineering capacity, in terms of innovation and execution?
Haala Energy prides itself on having one of the most diverse project portfolios in Saudi Arabia. We have successfully completed projects in all major dimensions of solar PV including solar-diesel hybrids, single-axis trackers, and agrivoltaics. That’s all thanks to our diverse technical expertise and design-focused engineering capabilities. As a technology-agnostic company, we focus on designing bespoke PV systems that meet our client’s needs, to maximize their returns.
We have recently taken the initiative to stress test one of our design assumptions regarding heat traps around PV modules. We partnered up with the KAUST Solar Center to design and build an experimental PV system to collect data on the air circulation effects of different mounting structures on corrugated sheet metal roofs. This has allowed us to reinforce our design parameters to better suit local needs and to better serve our clients’ projects.
What are the safety and quality measures taken at your project sites?
At Haala Energy, we believe that a high level of safety and quality controls goes hand in hand with the technical and financial success of any PV system. We design our projects to make sure all our installed components can safely and effectively produce power up to their nameplate lifespan. We also apply industry-standard safety regulations to all our projects during the construction and O&M phases to make sure no individual stakeholder is ever at risk while working on or operating our systems.
What are some technology trends taking shape in the region that you would like to highlight?
We have seen an uptick in interest in agrivoltaics in the past year. The multi-use design feature allows farmers to make use of shade cast by solar PV modules to regulate the growth of their crops underneath while benefitting from the power produced for loads such as well pumps. Agrivoltaics also benefits farmers by saving on the space needed to install solar PV.
We believe this is a promising trend in Saudi Arabia as the agricultural sector can greatly benefit from technology to better their yields while saving on costs.
Where do you see the solar PV C&I market headed in Saudi Arabia?
There have been a lot of ambitious solar PV goals set by the government in the past couple of years. This has created a lot of buzz in the market, with many large projects being awarded and a lot of new entrants to the market. Additionally, many suppliers are now setting up shop in Saudi, which has helped build a strong local supply chain, allowing for improved customer service.
The C&I market has also recently seen new regulations set in place to allow for net billing. These regulations are a first step towards building a market that would allow for efficient net metering and wheeling schemes, which would ultimately serve the needs of C&I off-takers.
The first stage of the new policy roll-out has had a distinct set of challenges for contractors and consultants working in our sector, but with close cooperation between industry and regulators, we hope to be able to participate in shaping a healthier regulatory environment that can help unleash the massive potential of solar at the commercial and industrial-scale in Saudi Arabia.