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Largest solar park achieves financial close

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the consortium led by ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund, announced the financial closing of the 950MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Claiming to be the largest single-site solar park in the world, once complete it will produce 5,000MW by 2030 with investments totalling $13 billion (AED 50 billion), the Saudi Arabia-based firm said in a statement.

The announcement was made by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, the MD and CEO of DEWA, and Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, the Chairman of ACWA Power, at a press conference that was attended by HE Tan Li, the Consul General of the Republic of Chinese in Dubai, and Erik Rovina, the Commercial Counselor to the Spanish Embassy in the UAE. Read more: AECF launches $20m solar fund for West Africa

“DEWA is implementing the fourth phase of the solar park in cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Silk Road Fund. This phase is the largest single-site investment project in the world. It uses both Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and photovoltaic solar technologies based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model with investments up to AED15.78 billion,” said Al Tayer.

He added: “It will use 700MW of CSP; 600MW from a parabolic basin complex and 100MW from a solar tower; and 250MW from photovoltaic solar panels. This phase will provide clean energy for 320,000 residences and will reduce 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

“The project, which will cover an area of 44 square kilometres, achieved several world records. These include the world’s lowest CSP Levelised Cost of Electricity of 7.3 USD cents per kilowatt-hour and the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity for photovoltaic technology of 2.4 USD cents per kilowatt-hour. The project will feature the tallest solar tower in the world at 260 metres and the largest thermal storage capacity of 15 hours; allowing for energy availability round the clock,” said Al Tayer. Read more: India: SECI extends bids for 3GW solar project

Al Tayer noted: “The Eight Principles of governance in Dubai launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that Dubai is global hub that focuses on creating economic opportunities, and that Dubai’s growth is driven by three factors: a credible, resilient and excellent government; an active, fair and open private sector; and public and government-owned flagship companies that compete globally and move the economy locally. At DEWA, we work in line with these principles in the solar power projects that are implemented based on the IPP model.

“Through this model, we achieved several world records in solar electricity prices through competitive bids that contributed to reducing its costs globally and attracted large investments to the UAE from the private sector and foreign banks. Since its inception, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park’s projects have received considerable attention from global developers. Financing the fourth phase of the solar park is the largest equity bridge loans in the region, in cooperation with a number of leading local and international banks. This reflects the confidence of financial institutions in the major projects adopted by the Government of Dubai, especially in light of the regulatory framework that stimulates innovation and attracts investments and the transparency we deal with in all our projects, as well as DEWA’s strong financial position,” added Al Tayer.

“The solar power projects currently operational in the solar park have a capacity of 413MW. DEWA currently has three more projects under implementation with a capacity of 1,550MW. We recently announced the 900-megawatt 5th phase using photovoltaic solar panels, bringing the total capacity of the five phases announced so far to 2,863MW. We are on our way to reaching 5,000MW by 2030 and achieving the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to produce 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy and make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” noted Al Tayer.