ACWA closes financing of 900 MW fifth phase of giant solar field


Saudi energy company ACWA Power has announced financial close for the 900 MW fifth phase of the giant Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, and revealed the bevy of international lenders that will be behind the $564 million facility.

ACWA on Thursday announced Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank would be among the lenders for the latest phase of the 5 GW mega project, alongside the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation founded in Saudi Arabia by the governments of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi, Syria, the UAE and Tunisia; and Dubai-based, state-owned Emirates NBD. The international backers for the 900 MW expansion are state-owned lenders the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Singapore-owned Standard Chartered Bank; and Kuwait’s sharia-compliant Warba Bank plus private companies Natixis, from France; and Saudi’s Samba Financial Group.


Further project recourse backing was provided by Dubai-based Commercial Bank International, with bridge lending facilities from compatriot lenders Commercial Bank of Dubai and Mashreqbank, as well as Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park commissioning body the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), which owns 60% of the Shuaa Energy 3 PSC special purpose vehicle set up to develop the 900 MW project. Shuaa 3 is 20% owned by ACWA and 20% by the Gulf Investment Corporation which is owned by the governments of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi and the UAE.

ACWA secured the 900 MW tender by agreeing to sell the electricity generated by the project to DEWA for $0.016953/kWh.

The project financing announcement made by ACWA revealed the latest phase of the giant solar field will feature tracker-mounted bifacial panels.

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U.S. thin-film manufacturer First Solar installed the first, 13 MW phase of the solar field, with ACWA and Spanish engineer TSK adding a 200 MW second stage. French developer EDF is working on an 800 MW third phase which will also include 200 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) generation capacity and ACWA also holds the contract for the 250 MW plus 700 MW of CSP fourth phase of the project.

Shanghai Electric signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract to build the 900 MW fifth phase in July.

pv magazine reported in February last year the latest slice of the giant solar field was due to be commissioned by the end of June next year.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is intended to eventually feature large scale energy storage and hydrogen technology within its 5 GW capacity.

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