Dubai announces 800 MW third phase of major solar project

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The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced the 800 MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a project’s tender expected to be released in the third quarter of the year.

Dubai has been making strides in its efforts to increase the use of clean and renewable energy. The emirate recently increased the share of its renewable energy target to a 7% share by 2020 and 15% by 2030, and doubled the capacity of phase two of the Solar Park from 100 MW to 200 MW.

DEWA manages and operated the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region, and is accepting proposals for a project consultant from April 1 to May 3. The park’s 13 MW first phase went online in 2013. The consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA and Spain’s TSK was selected to implement the 200 MW second phase of the solar park, which will be operational by 2017. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the largest strategic renewable energy projects in the world that is based on the independent power producer (IPP) model and is expected to put Dubai and the UAE at the forefront of countries in the region in producing renewable energy.

“DEWA’s strategy for future projects is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, that nothing is impossible,” proclaimed DEWA Managing Director and CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer.

Al Tayer added that after achieving the lowest global cost of production of PV energy for the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, doubling its capacity from 100 MW to 200 MW and announcing the 800 MW third phase, the emirate was now “on the right track to achieve the Solar Park’s total capacity of 3,000 MW.”

The DEWA chief exec said Dubai was “determined to continue building and developing a greener economy,” and to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 to achieve a sustainable environment in terms of air quality, conserving water resources, more reliance on clean energy and implementing green development as well as the Dubai Plan 2021 to establish the emirate as “a smart and sustainable city, whose environmental elements are clean, healthy, and sustainable.”

The emirate’s efforts complement the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify energy sources to include 71% from natural gas, 15% from solar energy, 7% from clean coal and 7% from nuclear power, Al Tayer added.

In addition to generating electricity, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park hosts a solar testing facility to study and evaluate the performance, long-term stability and reliability of the panels under actual local weather conditions. It also collaborates with international organizations on soiling and dust mitigation on PV equipment. The tests that are currently being performed will set a baseline for the development of specifications, tests and standards for PV equipment in the region. The current test program involves 32 module commercial types from over 20 manufacturers. DEWWA is also conducting research on operation and maintenance strategies. The solar park also includes a research and development center, a solar-testing facility, an innovation center, a university and a training center.