Dubai has opened a plant capable of generating around 24 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every year. This will be the region’s largest photovoltaic facility to date.
The power plant marks the first phase of Dubai’s $3.3bn ‘Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park’ which has a capacity of 13 Megawatts (MW). It was announced on Tuesday that the plant had gone live as part of a push to diversify energy supplies in the UAE.
The plant is designed to have a lifespan of over 25 years and is currently the largest operating solar PV plant in the region. It was connected to the emirates electricity grid just 195 days after breaking ground in March 2013.
Developed by First solar, the plant spans across an area of 238,764 square metres and will generate approximately 24 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, enough to meet the average annual electricity needs of more than 500 households.
In a statement made by First Solar it was explained that the electricity produced by the plant is anticipated to displace around 15,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, this being comparable to removing around 2,000 cars from the road every year.
The 13-megawatt photovoltaic plant is the biggest of its type in the Middle East and North Africa according to Saeed Mohammed Al Taylor (Vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme council of energy). He added;
“This plant represents an important step in the implementation of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify Dubai’s energy mix. For the first time, we are harnessing the sun to power growth and prosperity in the emirate, which is a significant achievement,”
Dubai’s enormous Solar Park is projected to ultimately cover 40 square kilometres and create 1,000MW of clean energy for the national grid using both PV and solar thermal technology.
First Solar’s CEO, Jim Hughes had the following to say;
“Solar PV, with its price and operational efficiencies, is the right fit for the Middle East’s energy generation needs.”
By 2030 Dubai plan to generate 5% of its electricity from renewable energy, 12% from coal and a further 12% from nuclear reactors planned in Abu Dhabi.