Saudi Aramco's landmark green installation
Saudi Aramco has achieved a landmark in green installation by feeding power to its Power Systems (PS) main offices through the company’s first rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation.
As the Kingdom’s demand for energy increases, Saudi Aramco has committed itself to an energy efficiency drive pioneered by the Saudi Energy Efficiency Centre, the government body mandated with the promotion of energy efficiency across the Kingdom.
The company aspires to reduce its nonindustrial energy consumption by 35 percent by the year 2020 through the installation of energy efficient LED lights, the testing and installation of solar panels and other renewable energy sources, and the application of new standards and requirements related to thermal insulation in homes and buildings.
A solar model
The solar installation was meant as a test of the performance of the footprint of a commercial rooftop photovoltaic system against energy demand during peak hours in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia. The operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic solar system was closely monitored. The building chosen for the test was named the Star Building.
“Months ago, we opted to have the Star Building as a model in energy efficiency for all major buildings to come,” said Ahmed Morsy, a KAUST graduate who joined Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems team in 2012. “We conducted an energy audit of the building, which set a recommendation for a solution where lighting was changed to efficient LED in renovated wings, and smart meters with sub-metering capabilities were installed to closely monitor consumption.”
Building energy audits are being used to identify efficiency opportunities throughout commercial and residential buildings.
The solar installation consists of 144 PV modules interconnected to the existing electrical system, ensuring the delivery of about 35 kilowatt peak (kWp) of power. Over its lifespan, the project will generate 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy, mostly during peak-demand time of the day, when energy is most needed.
This clean energy offsets the energy produced by fossil fuels, thereby saving the Kingdom’s associated oil resources for future use.
The project is also Smart Grid compatible, and when connected, will provide enough energy equivalent to light more than 50 homes every year for the next 20 years.
The project is also an environmental-friendly construction. The production of 1.2 million kWh of solar energy avoids emission of 900,000 tons of CO2 gases over the life of the project, which is equal to carbon sequestered by 670 acres of trees.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”