The scale of this solar street lighting project in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca is truly breathtaking. However, what is even more breathtaking is the conclusions can one draw about the value proposition of solar in a place where oil generated electricity comes in at a mind numbingly low 0.006 per kilowatt hour. And no, I didn’t screw up a decimal point in that figure I just cited:
A Makkah Municipality official said yesterday a project to install a solar-powered street lighting system in Makkah would commence in four months and take about 12 months to complete. The first stage will be experimental and cover three of nine parts of the Crown Prince Plan 9 that covers a total area of about 43 million square meters. When the first stage is successfully completed, 150,000 solar-powered light poles will be put up on the streets of Makkah, covering a 180-million square meter area.