Mar 24, 2019 – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund, which is owned by the Chinese Government, announced the financial closing of the 950 MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the emirate of Dubai (UAE) will produce 5,000 MW of power by 2030 with investments totaling AED 50 billion (around USD13.6 billion). In January 2012, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the launch of the project.
Phase 1 – PV – 13 MW, 2013
The 13 MW first phase became operational in October 2013, comprising around 152,000 photovoltaic cells.
Phase 2 – PV – 200 MW, 2017
The 200 MW second phase of the solar park provides clean power to 50,000 Dubai households. This phase consists of 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels installed on an area of 4.5 sq km. DEWA set a world record by obtaining the lowest price globally at USD 5.6 cents per kWh for the second phase of the park at the time of the tender.
DEWA implemented the project via the Shuaa Energy 1 joint venture set up in partnership with a consortium led by ACWA Power from Saudi Arabia as the main developer, and Spain’s TSK as the main contractor. Investment amounted to AED 1.2 billion.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the stage in March 2017.
Phase 3 – PV – 800 MW, 2020
In June 2016, DEWA announced the selection of the Masdar-led consortium as the best bidder to develop the 800 MW third phase of the solar park. DEWA also set a world record by obtaining the lowest price of USD 2.99 cents per kWh for the third phase of the park.
The first 200 MW part of the phase became operational in May 2018, the second and third part will be implemented in stages until 2020.
For this stage of the solar park, DEWA established the Shuaa Energy 2 joint venture in partnership with Masdar and Électricité de France (EDF), acting through its subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles. DEWA owns 60% of the company, and the consortium owns the remaining 40%: Masdar owns 24%, and EDF Energies Nouvelles owns 16%. The international consortium led by the renewable energy contractors GranSolar and Acciona from Spain and Ghella from Italy is handling engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC).
Phase 4 – PV, CSP – 950 MW
In September 2017, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the fourth stage of the park, which is the largest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project in the world. The project was awarded to a consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, The Silk Road Fund, and China’s Shanghai Electric as the main contractor.
In November 2018, DEWA signed an amendment to the power purchase agreement (PPA) to add 250MW of photovoltaic solar panels, increasing the total capacity of the fourth phase from 700MW to 950MW. The fourth phase will use three technologies to produce clean energy: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex, 100MW from a concentrated solar tower, and 250MW from photovoltaic panels.
In March 2019, the developers announced the financial closing of the project which was the biggest financing ever seen in the solar sector. It involved $2.6 billion of debt from 10 Chinese, Gulf and Western banks, plus $1.6 billion of equity from DEWA, ACWA Power, and The Silk Road Fund.
The fourth phase of the solar park has achieved many world records. It will have the world’s tallest solar tower, at 260 meters, and the largest thermal energy storage capacity in the world of 15 hours, which allows for energy generation round the clock. It also achieved the power price of 2.4 US cents per kW/h for the 250MW photovoltaic solar panels technology and USD 7.3 cents per kW/h for the 700MW CSP technology, the lowest worldwide.
Phase 5 – PV – 900 MW
DEWA announced an auction for developers to build and operate the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a capacity of 900MW. The phase will use photovoltaic solar panels. It will be commissioned in stages starting from April-June 2021.