KAUST and SESP sign MoU to develop talent pool of solar panel designers and installers

THUWAL, SAUDI ARABIA,  DATE X, 2022King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Electrical Services Polytechnic (SESP), a leading center of vocational learning in power utility technical education. This MOU supports the renewable energy goals of Saudi Vision 2030, as both organizations look to achieve common strategic objectives and coordinate key solar energy skills development for the Kingdom.

Due to its favorable climate and amount of flat land, Saudi Arabia enjoys an advantage when it comes to implementing solar power as a key contributor to the country’s energy mix. Indeed, the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 has set a target of generating half of its power needs from renewable energy sources, including solar.

By joining forces, KAUST and SESP look to train a highly skilled pool of solar-panel experts, both designers and installers. This will help to meet the country’s goal of transitioning to clean energy as well as provide more than 100 upskilled workers for jobs in the next year. Both partners have a common desire to establish a relationship aimed at serving their strategic interests in alignment with the directions of Saudi Arabia while also addressing challenges of national, regional and global significance.

The partnership highlights two programs: the PV Design Program and the PV Installation Program. Upon completion of both programs, trainees will be able to sit for the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) examinations to become certified Solar Photovoltaic Designers and Solar PV Installers.

“Building up the technical capacity and skilled workforce in Saudi Arabia is a core goal of KAUST Innovation. We are looking forward to supporting both SESP and the KAUST Solar Center in designing our first externally accredited certification program that fills a critical skills and infrastructure gap in the Saudi PV market,” said Dr. Kevin Cullen, vice president of innovation at KAUST.

KAUST and SESP have worked together before. The training expertise of SESP, combined with a world leading technology portfolio offered by the KAUST Solar Center, has previously produced Saudi engineers who have worked on designing installations for the PV industry. Through support from KAUST Innovation, the university’s department focused on research translation and capacity-building, SESP and the Solar Center have designed the first accredited solar vocational training program. 

“SESP’s understanding of the wider requirements of the Saudi Arabian national strategy for training and development along with renewable energy companies’ need for highly skilled entry-level technicians helped the organization to again deliver productive and safely trained graduates,” explained Dr. Khalid Al-somali, managing director of SESP. “Continuous improvement in its operations, program delivery and financial position, along with ensuring a trainee culture set on safety awareness, respect, good behavior and life-long learning expectations, have again helped SESP achieve its goals and deliver against its vision.”

As part of the MOU, a Partnerships Coordination Team will be formed by two senior representatives from both KAUST and SESP. This will help ensure an exchange of knowledge and expertise, while focusing on graduating skilled leaders.

By capturing energy from the largest renewable source — the sun — Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 looks to reduce carbon emissions and costs while also providing jobs for generations to come.  KAUST’s partnership with SESP —a key provider of world-class technical training in the power industry — highlights the university’s continued focus on cutting-edge solutions such as renewable energy. The result will both diversify the economy, provide skilled labor and lead to a more sustainable future.