Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi Inaugurates World’s Largest Single-Site Solar Power Plant
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC – Masdar, and its partners Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), EDF Renewables and JinkoPower, together with procurer Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), have inaugurated the world’s largest single-site solar power plant ahead of the UAE hosting the COP28.
The 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project was inaugurated by HH Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi and in the presence of HH Lt. General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.
H.H. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan reaffirmed that the UAE, under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, is proceeding with its strategic plans to enhance its energy security by implementing a diverse range of flexible energy generation that is contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions, while also advancing the economy.
H.H. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said: "As the UAE prepares to host COP28, this pioneering project reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to raising its share of clean energy, reducing its carbon emissions and supporting the global efforts on climate action.”
His Highness added: “We are witnessing, day after day, project after project, that the UAE is at the global forefront of developing and adopting innovative clean energy solutions. We are achieving energy security, while also contributing to building a bright future for future generations to come."
Located 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city, the landmark solar plant was built in a single phase and generates enough electricity to power almost 200,000 homes, displacing 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
Al Dhafra Solar PV spans more than 20 square kilometers of desert and created 4,500 jobs during the peak of the construction phase. It uses almost 4 million solar panels which deploy innovative bi-facial technology, ensuring sunlight is captured on both sides of the panels to maximize yield.
In less than fifteen years, the UAE has become a global leader in solar energy. In 2009, Masdar switched on the country’s first solar project at 10MW - today, Al Dhafra Solar PV represents a plant that is 200 times that size.
As the countdown to COP28 in the UAE begins, this mega project initially achieved the world’s lowest tariff at financial close, and demonstrates the country’s longstanding commitment to decarbonization, at home and around the world.
The UAE is also a world leader in solar energy use, according to the latest data from The Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy, ranking second globally in terms of per capita solar energy consumption.
In under a decade, the country has surpassed leading nations by installing solar energy, as part of the country’s energy diversification.
H.H. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan listened to a detailed explanation from HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, and a number of Masdar employees about the project, its strategic importance, and its role in enhancing national energy security.
H.E Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, said: "Al Dhafra is part of a long and proud history of energy innovation, made possible thanks to the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
"This world-leading solar project demonstrates remarkable progress in solar power efficiency, innovation and cost competitiveness - setting a new record-low tariff.
"To create Al Dhafra, Masdar brought together three partners from around the world: TAQA, EDF of France and JinkoPower of China.
"With just days to go before the start of COP28, I will be asking the world to unite and deliver the energy transition by tripling renewables capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. Al Dhafra is an example of the scale of the ambition needed around the world."
The delivery of the project was made possible after global energy leaders formed a strategic partnership and harnessed their combined expertise. Al Dhafra Solar PV, planned and procured by EWEC, has broken records in terms of cost for utility-scale solar projects.
Initially the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power set at AED 4.97 fils/kWh (USD 1.35 cents/kWh), which upon financial close, was further improved to AED 4.85 fils/kWh (USD 1.32 cents/kWh).
TAQA owns 40% of the project, Masdar owns 20% while the remaining partners, EDF Renewables and Jinko Power, own a 20% stake each. The plant will supply power to the procurer EWEC – following the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed in 2020 - and will raise Abu Dhabi’s solar power production capacity to 3.2GW.