Contract for world’s largest solar power plant in Abu Dhabi awarded

Our Correspondent

Plans to develop the world’s largest solar power plant in the deserts of the Gulf have been given the go-ahead, with the authorities in the UAE awarding the project to a multinational consortium on July 26.

The state-owned Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has awarded the contract for the 2GW plant to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), another local firm Masdar, French utility company EDF and China’s JinkoPower.

EDF said the Abu Dhabi solar photovoltaic plant would have a capacity of 2 GW, which would make it the largest single-project solar plant in the world, generating the equivalent electricity to power more than 160,000 households each year.

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EDF and Jinko Power will each hold a 20% stake in the project, while the remaining 60% will be held by Abu Dhabi firms TAQA and Masdar. The companies are set to start construction by the end of 2020, and the project is expected to generate more than 4,000 jobs during the construction phase.

At present, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park — named after the emirate’s ruler and the UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and expected to be completed in 2030 – is the largest such plant in the world. The $13.6 billion investment could power as many as 1.3 million homes, reducing carbon emissions by 6.5 million tonnes annually.

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First announced in 2012 and with a scheduled completion date of 2030, the 5,000-megawatt solar park will take three times as long to finish as the Burj Khalifa. Phases one and two, which are already complete, comprised 2.3 million photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 213 megawatts. Phase three, deep in construction, adds over 3 million photovoltaics and another 800 megawatts, and will be completed in 2020, say DEWA.

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Recently, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, awarded the contract for the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to a consortium of companies at 1.69 US cents per kilowatt-hour. This is the world’s lowest price for solar photovoltaic projects based on the independent power producer, IPP, model, and the fifth time DEWA has broken this record, he pointed out.