Dubai’s 5GW Solar Park On Track With 3rd Phase Opening

Dubai’s 5GW Solar Park On Track With 3rd Phase Opening

The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has formally announced the official opening of the 800 MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park (MBRAM). Named after the UAE’s Prime Minister and Vice President, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself came to do the honours.

With the latest opening, the park’s operational capacity goes to 1,013 MW now. Phase 3 was constructed by French firm EDF, in partnership with DEWA and Abu Dhabi Future Energy. Phase three of the project was developed at a cost of AED3.47 billion, according to DEWA, with Phase IV, due next year onwards, costing AED15.78 billion.

Phase 4 and Phase 5, both won by ACWA Power, have also seen construction and financing tied up, ensuring that the overall project stays on schedule. From a small beginnings of just 13 MW in capacity in 2013, the MBRAM project has been one of the brightest symbols of the acceptance and growth that solar energy has enjoyed in the middle east. The Emirates example has eventually been taken up by more and more countries in the region, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Back in 2013, like much of solar sector today, noone would have predicted this level of activity and projects in the oil rich region. Today, we estimate close to 12 GW of projects that are set to be completed by 2025 or earlier in the region. This growth has been driven by a combination of the auction mechanism to hand out capacities, and policies that have supported some of the lowest prices in the world.

The MBRAM project is considered the key to the Emirati target of 7 percent of energy needs from renewables, by 2020. With the third phase opening, that number will actually go to 9 percent, according to DEWA.

The project has been touted as the world’s largest single site solar project, and in the past 1 year, readers wouldn’t have missed the string of announcements by various equipment vendors supplying to various phases and parts of the project. Interestingly, phase 4 will also see a big return to Concentrated Solar Power, (CSP), with 600 MW planned through that (parabolic basin complex), and 100MW from the world’s tallest solar power tower, at 262.44m.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International