Dubai solar site still aiming for 5 GW by 2030


An update from the utility responsible for the world's largest single-site solar park has reaffirmed that the project will continue to target 5 GW of generating capacity by 2030.

In July, pv magazine reported that the ambitions of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park might have been scaled back, based on a budget update published by DEWA. That DEWA cost update said AED 12 billion ($3.27 billion) had been apportioned “to complete the independent power producer (IPP) projects in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park” – plus two other infrastructure sites – “in the next five years.”

However an update published this week, following a site visit by DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, indicated that 2030 remains the project deadline for an eventual 5 GW site. The latest project news released by DEWA confirmed the deadline for completion of the 900 MW fifth phase, originally set for mid-2021, is next year. The 330 MW first project of the AED 2.06 billion fifth phase is already operational and features bifacial solar panels mounted on single-axis trackers and fully automated robot cleaning.

This week, DEWA said the second project of the fifth phase was 93.3% complete and the third project was 26.03% complete. The company will own 60% of the fifth phase, with 50% state-owned Saudi developer ACWA Power and Gulf Investment Corp. (GIC) holding a 40% stake between them. GIC is equally owned by the governments of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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DEWA said construction work on the delayed 950 MW fourth phase of the solar field is 90% complete. That part of the overall project is being developed by DEWA and ACWA, with Beijing's state-owned Chinese Silk Road Fund holding a 24% stake.

Phase four of the park will feature a 600 MW parabolic basin and 100 MW concentrating solar tower, both of which were supposed to have been completed last year. It will also include 250 MW of conventional PV generating capacity. DEWA said the site currently has 1,627 MW of generation capacity and is working on an additional 1,233 MW, which would mean a further 2,140 MW would be required to hit the 2030 target of 5 GW.

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