Extra 217 MW of solar due online at vast Dubai solar field this year


Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has provided an update on the progress of the vast Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar field, and hinted 217 MW more photovoltaic generation capacity than previously announced is due to come online this year.

An article published on the DEWA website yesterday – to announce the inauguration of the initial, 300 MW slice of the park's fifth phase – stated the utility expects 217 MW of the fourth phase of the park to become operational this year, in addition to the previously stated CSP generation capacities of 100 MW, from the world's tallest solar tower, and 200 MW in the related parabolic trough.

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Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of Saudi energy company ACWA Power – which is developing the fifth phase of the eventual 5 GW solar field along with regional body the Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) – was quoted in the DEWA article as stating the first section of the stage was completed in “record time” of less than a year, helping explain why its first panels have started generating before any of the 950 MW fourth phase of the project.

pv magazine in June reported DEWA expected to commission the first 300 MW of phase V of the project last month and DEWA did not reveal yesterday whether that project milestone had been achieved, with the inauguration ceremony having been attended by the ruler of Dubai and vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, after whom the field is named.

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DEWA said in June, it expects to commission the 100 MW solar tower in September with the parabolic trough to follow by the end of the year and the utility said yesterday, a further 217 MW of solar panel capacity would also be added this year, to ensure clean power facilities will make up 13.3% of the emirate's energy mix as Dubai aims for 75% by mid century.

ACWA Power, which is 50% state owned, and the GIC held by the states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, won the contract to develop the AED2.06 billion ($561 million), 900 MW fifth phase of the solar field and will own 40% of the facilities installed, with DEWA retaining the balance. The development partners agreed to accept a then-world record low solar tariff of $0.016953 for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by the project's fifth phase.

The fifth phase is set to be completed by 2023, DEWA said yesterday. The 950 MW fourth phase of the site has an investment price tag of up to AED16 billion ($4.36 billion), pv magazine reported in June.

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