World's largest solar plant to come up in Abu Dhabi

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 26 Jul 2020, 5:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Jul 2020, 7:56 PM

Abu Dhabi will have the world's largest solar power plant with a capacity of 2 gigawatt (GW), surpassing Taqa's 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant, which is currently the world's largest operational single-project solar PV plant.
Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), owned by government-backed holding company ADQ, has awarded the contract to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower, for Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project.
Around 60 per cent of the project will be owned by Taqa and Masdar while the remaining 40 per cent will be controlled by EDF and JinkoPower.
The project's financial closure is expected to occur in Q3 2020, enabling initial power generation in the first-half of 2022 and full generation by second-half of 2022. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi's solar power capacity to approximately 3.2 GW.
The UAE is diversifying its energy mix and is aiming to meet 44 per cent of its needs through clean energy by 2050.
Jasim Husain Thabet, group CEO and managing director at Taqa, said that the project's low tariff further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating the country's progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050.
"We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power's integral role in meeting current and future energy needs. Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector's transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE," said Othman Al Ali, chief executive officer of EWEC.
Following a competitive bidding process, tariffs for the solar photovoltaic energy has been set at 4.97 fils per kWh (1.35 US cents) on a levelised cost basis.
The solar plant will help reduce CO2 emission by over 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing around 470,000 cars from the road.
The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide electricity to 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity.
Bruno Bensasson, EDF group senior executive vice-president of Renewable Energies, said the project will use the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology delivering electricity to the highest efficiency and at a world record-low tariff in such irradiation conditions.

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