Announcing the solar park
In January 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
1st Phase (13MW using photovoltaic solar panels)
The 13MW first phase became operational on 22 October 2013, comprising around 152,000 photovoltaic cells, connected to 13 transformers in inverter buildings. The output is transformed to 33 kilovolts (kV), and generates nearly 28 million kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity annually. The first phase contributes to an annual reduction of about 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
2nd Phase (200MW using photovoltaic solar panels)
On 20 March 2017, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park, which is the largest and first project of its kind in the region, based on the IPP model. DEWA implemented the project in partnership with a consortium led by ACWA Power from Saudi Arabia as the main developer, and Spain’s TSK as the main contractor, with an investment of AED 1.2 billion. The efforts of Shuaa Energy 1, which was established by DEWA and the consortium led by ACWA Power and TSK, were vital in completing the work efficiently and professionally, with over 1.5 million Safe Man Hours without Lost Time Injury.
The 200MW second phase of the solar park will provide clean energy to 50,000 residences in the Emirate, reducing 214,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. This phase installed 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels over an area of 4.5 square kilometres. DEWA set a world record by obtaining the lowest price globally at USD 5.6 cents per kWh for the second phase of the park at the time of the tender.
Third Phase (800MW using photovoltaic solar panels)
In June 2016, DEWA announced the selection of the Masdar-led consortium as the best bidder to develop the 800 MW third phase of the solar park. DEWA also set a world record by obtaining the lowest price of USD 2.99 cents per kWh for the third phase of the park, based on the IPP model. The first 200 MW project became operational on 1 May 2018, with the second and third projects being implemented in stages until 2020.
To implement the project, DEWA established Shuaa Energy 2 in partnership with the Masdar-led consortium, and Électricité de France (EDF), through its subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles. DEWA owns 60% of the company, and the consortium owns the remaining 40%: Masdar owns 24%, and EDF Energies Nouvelles owns 16%. The international consortium led by the renewable energy contractors GranSolar and Acciona from Spain and Ghella from Italy are handling engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC).
The first project of the solar park’s third phase includes a first-of-its-kind station in the Middle East and North Africa that uses sun-tracking tilting panels, thereby maximising output with a production capacity of 200MW that provides clean energy to about 60,000 residences. The project uses 806,992 photovoltaic polycrystalline panels on a total area of 4.48 square kilometres. Nearly 1,700 workers spent 2.4 million safe work hours without injuries to implement the project.
Fourth Phase (950MW of CSP and PV)
On 16 September 2017, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. It is the largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world, based on the IPP model. The project was awarded to a consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, The Silk Road Fund, and China’s Shanghai Electric as the main contractor. The consortium bid the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of USD 7.3 cents per kWh.
On 3 November 2018, DEWA signed an amendment to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to add 250MW of photovoltaic solar panels, increasing the total capacity of the fourth phase from 700MW to 950MW.
The fourth phase will use three technologies to produce clean energy: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex, 100MW from a concentrated solar tower, and 250MW from photovoltaic panels.
The fourth phase of the solar park has achieved many world records. It will have the world’s tallest solar tower, at 260 metres, and the largest thermal energy storage capacity in the world of 15 hours, which allows for energy generation round the clock. It also achieved the lowest Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of 2.4 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kW/h) for the 250MW photovoltaic solar panels technology and USD 7.3 cents per kW/h for the 700MW CSP technology, the lowest worldwide.