Abu Dhabi claims record low US$0.0135/kWh solar tariff for 2GW Al Dhafra project

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The Al Dhafra project will be nearly twice the size of the existing Abu Dhabi Noor project (pictured), completed last year. Image: EWEC.

Abu Dhabi Power has claimed to have received the world’s lowest tariff for solar for its 2GW Al Dhafra project.

A pool of five bidders tendered for the project and the first-ranked bidder – yet to be named by ADP – set their price at US$0.0135/kWh, a sum which would rank as the world’s lowest, the utility said.

At that price, the Al Dhafra project comes in cheaper per kilowatt-hour than the previous solar record of US$0.0164/kWh, claimed by a bidder in Portugal’s major solar tender last year.

While the identities behind the leading bid have yet to be formally revealed, reports suggest that it is a joint bid from French utility EDF and Solar Module Super League member JinkoSolar. ADP did not comment on the speculation when contacted by PV Tech yesterday. 

The 2GW Al Dhafra project is the designated follow-up to the Emirate’s maiden utility-scale solar project Abu Dhabi Noor. Al Dhafra’s tariff has come in 44% lower than the US$0.0242/kWh received by Noor three years ago, itself a world record low at the time.

The Al Dhafra tender was launched in February last year, attracting interest from a list of nearly 50 companies which was then whittled down to a shortlist of 24. From that shortlist, just five firms submitted bids last November.

At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, ADP’s utility subsidiary Emirates Water and Electric Company (EWEC) said that it was evaluating the bids against a selection of price and non-price criteria, intending to announce further details this spring.

Formal agreements between ADP, EWEC and the winning bidder are now to be signed, with EWEC expecting to sign a power purchase agreement and start receiving power from the project in Q2 2022.

Othman Al Ali, chief executive at EWEC, described the project as a “major milestone” for its strategic shift towards clean energy.

“The cost-competitiveness of the bids received is truly remarkable – positioning Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s most attractive markets for solar energy development and reinforcing the economic benefits now achievable through renewable technologies,” he said.

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