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Evaluating the economic viability of solar-powered desalination: Saudi Arabia as a case study


  • Christopher Napoli
  • Bertrand Rioux


This article constructs a cost calculator to estimate the economic competitiveness of solar-powered desalination in Saudi Arabia. Solar desalination is defined as a plant that obtains solar energy from a closed system. This is done to focus the investigation on desalination technologies, rather than the efficacy of replacing conventional energy sources with renewables in an integrated electricity grid. The results suggest that current options for solar-powered desalination are not cost-competitive compared to incumbent technologies in Saudi Arabia. The article offers insight into where costs must decrease before solar technologies are economically competitive in the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Napoli & Bertrand Rioux, 2016. "Evaluating the economic viability of solar-powered desalination: Saudi Arabia as a case study," International Journal of Water Resources Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 412-427, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cijwxx:v:32:y:2016:i:3:p:412-427
    DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2015.1109499

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank, 2012. "Renewable Energy Desalination : An Emerging Solution to Close the Water Gap in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11963, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rômulo de Oliveira Azevêdo & Paulo Rotela Junior & Luiz Célio Souza Rocha & Gianfranco Chicco & Giancarlo Aquila & Rogério Santana Peruchi, 2020. "Identification and Analysis of Impact Factors on the Economic Feasibility of Photovoltaic Energy Investments," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-40, September.
    2. Baghbanzadeh, Mohammadali & Rana, Dipak & Lan, Christopher Q. & Matsuura, Takeshi, 2017. "Zero thermal input membrane distillation, a zero-waste and sustainable solution for freshwater shortage," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 910-928.

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