Saudi Arabia’s Almarai has completed the installation of more than 44,000 solar panels at the cost of 44.4 million Saudi riyals ($11.84 million), the food and beverage conglomerate said in a filing with Tadawul on Wednesday.
The ground mount solar panels as part of its Al Kharj Solar Project incorporates 15 Mega Watts of installed capacity and can produce 28 Giga Watt hours of renewable energy per year, said Almarai.
This will offset 8.1 thousand tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to planting more than 8,000 trees.
The solar panels are spread over 30 hectares at Al Kharj, around 77 kilometres south of Riyadh, according to project developer Ethraa Co.
In 2018, Almarai generated 2,472,105 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from its GCC, Egypt, Jordan, USA and Argentina operations, according to its sustainability report.
96 per cent of those emissions came from its GCC operations.
Al Kharj Solar Project is part of Almarai’s Energy Roadmap to use more sustainable sources. The company said solar power generation projects are “key” to delivering its strategy.
“By the end of 2020 Almarai aims to increase its Solar PV installations constructed across the Middle East North Africa region, supplying more solar power generation capacity, that would represent approximately 10 per cent of our total electricity consumption being derived from renewables,” the firm said on Wednesday.
Almarai’s plan is to commission 36MW of solar power generation capacity by 2020. It said this could represent 7 per cent of its total electricity consumption derived from renewables.
Last year it commissioned solar panels at its Dubai and Riyadh East sales depots.
The company said 2.4 Giga Watt hours of its electricity were generated from renewable sources in 2018 and 7.1 GWh of electricity were avoided by the use of LEDs. These helped the company avoid 2,682 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 6,209 fewer barrels of oil consumed.
Almarai’s sustainability efforts also include reduction of its impact on the environment by lowering water consumption and waste generation throughout its value chain.
Almarai in May announced a new 2020-2024 business plan with a capital investment of 7.1 billion riyals ($1.89 billion), that focuses on less expansionary investments and turns instead towards more efficiency and sustainability.
The plan includes the adoption of a green and cleaner energy footprint.
The company’s overall gross profit for the first six months of 2019 dropped 1.1 per cent to 2,629.4 million riyals compared to 2,657.6 million riyals during the same period last year, largely due to higher costs.
Almarai's biggest shareholder is Saudi investment holding firm Savola Group, which owns 34.5 per cent of the company.
($1 = 3.75 Saudi riyals)
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