Abu Dhabi’s 1.17GW Sweihan marks commercial launch

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Sterling & Wilson was the EPC hired to build Sweihan in the space of around two years (Credit: Sterling & Wilson)

One of the largest single-site solar installations ever to be completed worldwide has started operations, less than three years after construction contracts were awarded.

With 1.177GW in installed capacity, the Sweihan PV park marked its commercial launch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 30 April, Marubeni Corporation said today.

The Japanese conglomerate was part of the three-firm consortium hired in 2016 to build the plant, together with JinkoSolar and the Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (AD Power).

The trio, which prevailed three years ago with a bid of US$0.0242/kWh, remain owners of the PV park. At 60%, AD Power’s share outstrips Marubeni’s and JinkoSolar’s (20% each).

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company is set to acquire all electricity generated by Sweihan, under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Delivery of the 1.177GW plant was completed under the 23-month deadline and financed with loans from a syndicate of banks, including MUFG Bank and Norinchukin Bank.

In late 2017, as Sweihan lay mid-construction, PV Tech examined how the appointed EPC – Sterling & Wilson – was approaching the challenges that come with deployment on such large scale.

At the time, the firm explained the rationale for choosing a 1,000V architecture over 1,500V and opting for a dense layout, with all non-road gaps taking up one metre or less.

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