Masdar inaugurates ‘world’s-largest’ 2GW solar project in Abu Dhabi

The project will supply power to procurer of the project Emirates Water and Electricity Company. Image: Masdar

UAE state-owned renewable energy developer Masdar has inaugurated the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar solar PV project in Abu Dhabi.

Encompassing about four million bi-facial solar modules, the project will supply power to the procurer of the project, Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), as both companies signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) in 2020.

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Masdar claimed that this project is the world’s largest single-site solar PV plant. After adding this project to the UAE’s solar portfolio, the country’s solar power production capacity will increase to 3.2GW.

Located 35 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city, the project was co-developed with Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, French power company EDF Renewables and Chinese solar developer JinkoPower. Masdar added that the solar modules were installed at an average rate of 10MW a day during construction.

“This world-leading solar project demonstrates remarkable progress in solar power efficiency, innovation and cost competitiveness. Al Dhafra is an example of the scale of the ambition needed around the world,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar.

In July, Solar Module Super League member (SMSL) Trina Solar delivered 800MW of solar modules to the 2GW Al Dhafra PV plant. The Chinese company delivered its 210mm Vertex modules to the China Machinery Engineering Corporation for deployment at the Al Dhafra plant.

Tracker manufacturer Arctech also secured a supply deal with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for the Al Dhafra PV plant in Abu Dhabi. Arctech provided its flagship SkySmart II trackers, which, according to the company, are capable of coping with high temperatures and a harsh environment at the project site.

Apart from this project, Masdar recently also inaugurated the 145MWac (192MWp) Cirata floating solar PV (FPV) plant in the West Java province of Indonesia. This is Masdar’s FPV project and its first entry into Southeast Asia.

Masdar also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PLN to develop Cirata phase II which would add up to 500MW capacity.

Earlier this month, a consortium comprising renewables developers – Masdar and EDF Renewables – and Saudi conglomerate Nesma Company signed a PPA with the Saudi Power Procurement Company for the planned 1.1GW Al Henakiyah Solar Plant in Saudi Arabia. The Al Henakiyah project is expected to reach a financial close in late 2024 and start operating in 2025.

EWEC also invited applications from companies to develop a 1.5GWdc solar PV project located in the Al Khazna area of Abu Dhabi in September.

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