Remote operation for 900 MW fifth phase of Dubai solar field

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Saudi energy company ACWA Power has revealed the 900 MW fifth phase of the gargantuan Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park being constructed in Dubai will have no on-site personnel during operation.

Announcing One Belt, One Road Chinese partner Shanghai Electric as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services provider for the $564 million phase of the solar project, ACWA yesterday claimed the PV facility will be the “first utility scale solar PV power plant to operate remotely, with zero manpower on site.”

The Saudi developer said Chinese power company Shanghai Electric – which it was reported in April last year had deepened its partnership with ACWA in China’s One Belt, One Road transcontinental infrastructure program – will develop the 900 MW fifth phase of the park in three 300 MW stages, each requiring a year to complete. The developer did not announce, however, when the EPC is due to begin the first of those stages. pv magazine has approached the PR agency which issued the press release in a bid to tie down the timeline.

Power price

Tendering authority the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority in April signed a power purchase agreement for the fifth phase of the solar field after ACWA agreed to accept a then-world record low tariff of $0.016953/kWh for the electricity generated. By the time the agreement had been signed, that mark had already been undercut by the $0.0135 offered by French energy firm EDF and Chinese developer Jinko Power for the 1.5 GW Al Dhafra solar project in Abu Dhabi.

The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park was a 13 MW facility, the second phase added a further 200 MW, phase three is set to hit another 800 MW and the 700 MW concentrating solar power system planned as phase four has now been supplemented by an additional 250 MW of planned PV capacity, ensuring phase five is set to see the project reach more than 2.8 GW of solar generation capacity.

In a press release issued to announce the award of the EPC contract, Shanghai Electric chairman Zheng Jianhua said: “ACWA Power and Shanghai Electric are both acknowledged as important participators in the global energy field. The signed, 900 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power – Independent Power Project Phase V … would be another milestone in the bilateral cooperative track. I hope the upcoming 900 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power – Independent Power Project Phase V would be another benchmark in the region as well as worldwide, and a flagship in the One Belt, One Road [initiative].”

This copy was amended on 29/07/20 to reflect the press release announcing the EPC contract was issued on 28/07/20.