Dubai — Saudi Arabia received offers to supply solar electricity for the cheapest prices ever recorded, marking the start of a $50bn programme to diversify the oil producer’s domestic energy supplies away from fossil fuels. The energy ministry said Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Électricité de France bid to supply power from a 300MW photo-voltaic (PV) plant for as little as 6.69736 halalas per kilowatt-hour, or 1.79c, according to a webcast of the bid-opening ceremony on Tuesday in Riyadh. If awarded, it would beat the previous record for a solar project in Abu Dhabi for 2.42c per kilowatt-hour. Saudi Arabia and its neighbours are among Middle Eastern oil producers looking to renewables to feed growing domestic consumption that’s soaking up crude they’d rather export to generate income. While the offers submitted are remarkably low, the actual cost of power coming from the projects may be inflated by terms within the contracts that aren’t yet published, according to Bloomberg New Energy Fin...

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