Abu Dhabi-based Masdar has joined hands with its partners leading UAE energy company Taqa, French group EDF Renewables and China's JinkoPower for the launch of 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project, the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, spanning more than 20 sq km of Abu Dhabi desert.
The project was inaugurated by Masdar and its partners together with procurer Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) ahead of the UAE's hosting of the COP28 conference.
Located 35 km from Abu Dhabi City, the landmark solar plant was built in a single phase and generates enough electricity to power almost 200,000 homes, displacing 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
Al Dhafra Solar PV had created 4,500 jobs during the peak of the construction phase. It uses almost 4 million solar panels which deploy innovative bi-facial technology, ensuring sunlight is captured on both sides of the panels to maximise yield.
It was inaugurated by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and other senior officials.
Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Hazza said: "As the UAE prepares to host COP28, this pioneering project reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to raising its share of clean energy, reducing its carbon emissions and supporting the global efforts on climate action."
"We are witnessing, day after day, project after project, that the UAE is at the global forefront of developing and adopting innovative clean energy solutions. We are achieving energy security, while also contributing to building a bright future for future generations to come," he stated.
"In less than 15 years, the UAE has become a global leader in solar energy. In 2009, Masdar switched on the country’s first solar project at 10MW, Al Dhafra Solar PV represents a plant that is 200 times that size. As the countdown to COP28 in the UAE begins, this mega project initially achieved the world’s lowest tariff at financial close, and demonstrates the country’s longstanding commitment to decarbonisation, at home and around the world," he added.
Sheikh Hazza was later briefed by Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, and Masdar employees about the project, its strategic importance, and its role in enhancing national energy security.
"Al Dhafra demonstrates remarkable progress in solar power efficiency, innovation and cost competitiveness - setting a new record-low tariff. To create Al Dhafra, Masdar brought together three partners from around the world: Taqa, EDF of France and JinkoPower of China," stated Al Jaber.
"With just days to go before the start of COP28, I will be asking the world to unite and deliver the energy transition by tripling renewables capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. Al Dhafra is an example of the scale of the ambition needed around the world," he added.
The delivery of the project was made possible after global energy leaders formed a strategic partnership and harnessed their combined expertise.
Al Dhafra Solar PV, planned and procured by Ewec, has broken records in terms of cost for utility-scale solar projects. Initially the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power set at AED4.97 fils/kWh, which upon financial close, was further improved to AED4.85 fils/kWh.-TradeArabia News Service