Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has inaugurated the 900 megawatt (MW) fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned capacity of 5,000MW by 2030.
The fifth phase of the project will provide clean energy to around 270,000 residences in Dubai, reducing 1.18 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Featuring a total investment of Dh50 billion, based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, the Solar Park is expected to reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually when fully completed.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE); and Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council attended the inauguration.
Sheikh Mohammed was welcomed at the Solar Park in Seih Al Dahl, by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
Sheikh Mohammed said: “The UAE is at the forefront of global efforts to create a more sustainable future for all of humanity by taking concrete action to transition to renewable energies and combat climate change. In 2023, the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, and the year in which we are hosting COP28, we continue to place sustainability at the heart of our development plans and make new strides in shaping a truly environmentally friendly economy. The completion of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park takes us another major step closer to realising our vision for an economy fully powered by clean energy.
“Aligned with the UAE’s vision, Dubai has developed a clear strategy and pathway to achieve its targets of generating 25 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. Dubai is resolute in its commitment to becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the world, with diverse initiatives. The rapid progress of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project is yet another example of our strong ethos of public-private partnerships. Such partnerships play a key role in driving sustainable economic development, building a world-class renewable energy infrastructure and creating a diverse environment-friendly energy mix in the emirate. Apart from benefiting the environment, our sustainability initiatives also contribute to our plans to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top urban economies and enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of our citizens and residents.”
The inauguration was attended by Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary-General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Saif Humaid Al Falasi, CEO of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC); Abdulla bin Kalban, Managing Director of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA); Hussain Al Banna, CEO of Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA); Juan-Pablo Freile, General Manager of Dubai Petroleum; Hussain Al Banna, Acting CEO of the Strategy & Corporate Governance Sector at the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA); Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power; and Ibrahim AlQadhi, CEO of Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC).
Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by Al Tayer about the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. DEWA has implemented this phase using the latest solar photovoltaic bifacial technologies with Single Axis Tracking to increase energy production and the plant’s efficiency.
The AED2 billion project, implemented based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, features a partnership between DEWA (60 per cent) and a consortium led by ACWA Power and Gulf Investment Corporation (40 per cent) through Shuaa Energy 3. DEWA achieved a world record by receiving the lowest bid of $1.6953 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the fifth phase.
Sheikh Mohammed was also briefed by Al Tayer about the phases of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the technologies used in the project. The total capacity of the solar energy projects commissioned at the solar park has reached 2,427MW from photovoltaic solar panels and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). The total capacity of the projects under construction at the solar park is 433MW from CSP. DEWA has increased the share of clean energy in Dubai’s energy mix to about 16.3 per cent of its total installed capacity, which has reached 14,917MW.
“Our work is aligned with the directives of the wise leadership in line with the declaration of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, 2023 as the Year of Sustainability in the UAE with the slogan ‘Today for Tomorrow’, and in accordance with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and in support of the UAE hosting the largest international climate event, which is the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) in Expo City Dubai later this year. We continue to do our best to promote sustainability and transform into a sustainable green economy by increasing the share of clean and renewable energy. We have made rapid progress in achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. To achieve these goals, we are implementing several projects at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. We promise His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to continue our development projects to achieve his ambitious vision for this national project, which adds to the UAE’s success in moving steadily towards a sustainable future for current and future generations,” said Al Tayer.
Mohammad Abunayyan, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACWA Power, said: “Today, we are delighted to celebrate yet another milestone with our long-standing partner Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, as we inaugurate the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park ahead of schedule alongside our partners Gulf Investment Corporation and the EPC contractor Shanghai Electric. Our objective for Shuaa Energy 3 has been to achieve the highest technical and operational standards every step of the way, setting the record for the lowest solar tariff globally in 2020 and deploying advanced technologies such as bifacial solar panels and automatic cleaning robots.”
“ACWA Power has adopted a comprehensive safety programme and implemented ongoing safety initiatives to improve safety culture and achieved zero Lost Time Injury (LTI) throughout the project construction. At ACWA Power, we are proud to support Dubai and the wider region’s clean energy ambitions, and will continue to set new records in renewable energy development not just regionally but on a global scale,” Abunayyan added.
ACWA Power has worked on previous phases of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park developed by ACWA Power was launched in March 2017. Meanwhile, a consortium led by DEWA and ACWA Power formed a project company, Noor Energy 1, to design, build and operate the 950MW fourth phase.
“We are delighted to co-develop renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the UAE. The fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, based on the (IPP) model, is considered to be a pioneering project as it uses state of the art clean power generation solutions that contribute to the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050,” said Ibrahim AlQadhi, CEO of Gulf Investment Corporation.
“We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate DEWA for its success in attracting local, regional and international developers and investors to participate in the development of Dubai’s energy sector,” he added.
The inauguration of the 900MW fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park supports the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide 100 per cent of Dubai’s power production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. In 2020, DEWA achieved a world record by receiving the lowest bid of $1.6953 cents per kWh for the fifth phase, which included over 6.8 million safe working hours. The fifth phase was completed ahead of schedule (June 2023 instead of December 2023) despite the implementation having commenced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fifth phase is one of the first projects in the Middle East to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of an advanced robotic cleaning system for the operation and maintenance of photovoltaic panels. The total area of the fifth phase is approximately 10sqkm, which is half of the total area of the 800MW third phase.