Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil exporter in the world. Ironically, there is also ample opportunity for U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia’s energy sector.

Saudi Arabia meets about 60 percent of its domestic power needs from petroleum, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA). The usage, however, reduces export income and feedstock for development of downstream petrochemical industries.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest per capita energy consumption (mostly for air conditioning and distilling potable water) in the world; it is four times the global average and continues to outstrip supply, growing at an average rate of eight to nine percent annually.

During peak demand times, the government-controlled Saudi Electric Company (SEC) even limits usage in some regions, according to the ITA.

Saudi Arabia’s government, therefore, wants to dramatically reduce petroleum usage for domestic power needs and rely on clean energy instead.

This goal offers “abundant opportunities for U.S. companies to export American technologies, products, and services,” stated the ITA.

Saudi Arabia’s geography presents both challenges and opportunity for the solar energy industry.

Current solar panels become less efficient if they get too hot, according to CNN Money. Moreover, dust is a problem, requiring workers to clean the solar panels.

However, Clean Technica pointed out that Saudi Arabia sits on the earth’s hot, dry Sun Belt and has plenty of open land. If solar energy technology can advance and overcome the challenges stated above, Saudi Arabia could become a solar energy powerhouse, ironically extending its dominance in global energy production.

The U.S. government is proactive in its efforts to help U.S. businesses win Saudi clean energy contracts.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is organizing a clean energy trade mission to Saudi Arabia from April 14 to 18.

This event will allow U.S. businesses to “meet key Saudi Arabian government officials and decision-makers, hold one-on-one meetings with potential business partners, and enjoy networking events, with the goal of increasing U.S. exports in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors.”

The ITA has also produced market research to guide U.S. businesses.

The U.S. government often aggressively promotes exports to countries (and their governments) it has deep ties to.

Saudi Arabia, for example, is a key U.S. ally that has been “doing business with Americans much longer than they have with any other major economic power, going back to the 1930s,” stated the Department of Commerce.

Other countries viewed as key export target for the U.S. businesses include Brazil, Mexico and South Korea.