World’s largest solar power plant set to operate as Taqa receives UAE's financing

Dubai - Four million solar panels to generate power for 160,000 UAE homes

By Web Report

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Published: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 12:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 12:03 PM

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and its partners Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower, have announced financial closing of the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project.

The project, located approximately 35 km from Abu Dhabi City, will have a capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) and will supply power to Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC).

Once operational, the Al Dhafra Solar PV IPP will be the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, using approximately 4 million solar panels to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.

Financing for the project will come from seven international banks, following the signing of the power purchase agreement in July 2020.

Earlier in the year, the competitive bidding for the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power, set at 4.97 fils/kWh (1.35 US cents/kWh), which upon financial closing, was further improved to 4.85 fils/kWh (1.32 US cents/kWh), primarily driven by hedging and financing cost improvements, in addition to other optimization efforts.

Taqa will own 40 per cent of the Al Dhafra project, while the remaining partners – Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower – will have a 20 per cent stake each.

The plant will deploy the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology, which will enable the plant to provide more efficient electricity by capturing solar irradiation from both the front and backside of the panel. Upon full commercial operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at Taqa, said: "The financial closing of the world’s largest solar plant marks the beginning of an important chapter for this IPP project, for Taqa Group and for the UAE as we continue to deliver on our bold clean energy ambitions, while demonstrating the commercial and operational viability of utility-scale single-site solar projects. Through this project and many others – such as Taqa’s Noor Abu Dhabi, currently the world’s largest operational solar power plant – we have established the company as a trusted integrated utilities partner that is leading the sector’s transformation in the UAE and beyond. We have an expanded portfolio of power and water assets that we will grow further through a disciplined approach, adding value for our shareholders and delivering a diverse supply of energy for our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate.”

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), said: “Achieving this milestone is a significant step forward in the development of the Al Dhafra project and the realisation of the UAE leadership’s vision for a diversified power sector.”

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