Construction of world’s largest solar park gets under way

29 March 2018

Sian Crampsie

ACWA Power reports that it has broken ground on the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) project.

The Saudi-based firm says that Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum broke ground on the 700 MW project on 20 March 2018.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park is a key element of the UAE’s strategy to develop its infrastructure and a new model of sustainability and innovation.

The country is a pioneer in transforming its energy sector to one based on solar power and clean energy, His Highness said. “We will continue pursuing ambitious investments with an emphasis on projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Clean and renewable energy is key to sustainable development and the UAE has set an example for its rapid adoption,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Phase four of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park will generate 700 MW at a single site and feature the world’s tallest solar tower and the world’s largest thermal energy storage unit. It will be built at a cost of AED14.2 billion and will generate electricity at a levelised cost of $0.073/kWh.

The CSP project will use two technologies for the production of clean energy: the 600 MW parabolic basin complex and the 100 MW solar tower over a total area of 43 km2. The solar tower will be 260 m in height.

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, added: “24 hour dispatchable cost competitive solar energy that this project will deliver is not just a monumental step forward in achieving the goals of Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy but is also possibly the most significant contribution to accelerating the energy revolution across the world.

“The investment of $750 Million ACWA Power is making into this project is also the single largest investment we are making in any project and thus a testament to our confidence in the CSP technology and our commitment to the long-term partnership with DEWA and the government and the people of the Emirate of Dubai”.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park is the largest single-site solar park in the world, based on the IPP model. It will generate 1000 MW by 2020 and 5000 MW by 2030. The 13 MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013. The 200 MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park was launched in March 2017. The 800 MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020, and the first stage of the 700 MW CSP fourth phase will be commissioned in Q4 of 2020.

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