Al-Afandi Group to build Middle East's largest solar panel factory

The Al-Afandi Group has announced plans to build the Middle East's largest solar panel factory.
The Al-Afandi Group announced Tuesday that it will work with the Royal Commission in Yanbu to build a 55,000-square-foot solar panel manufacturing facility -- the largest in the region.

In phase one alone, the factory will produce approximately 450,000 solar panels, capable of producing 120 megawatts of energy, to help meet the region's demand for renewable energy.

The oil-rich region's interest in using less of its own fuel is driven more by economic reasons than by environmental ones, according to Al-Afandi Business Development Director Al-Rasheed Alkibsy, who pointed out that the less oil Middle Eastern countries consume, the more they'll have to export. This, combined with some of the highest solar exposure in the world, makes major investment in solar technology an obvious choice, he said.

The new factory will be unique in that it will be fully integrated, producing every component of the solar panels and assembling them in-house through a fully automated production line. Via Marafiq, the Royal Commission will provide the factory with a high-quality supply of processed water and electricity to keep production steady.

The finished products are designed to stand up to tough desert conditions, but they will also be marketed to and pass standards for U.S. and European markets.

Al-Afandi has been dealing in solar technology since 1994, when it began exporting panels to Europe. The company currently operates a solar cell production facility in Jeddah that makes panels for small-scale residential uses.

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