There are 2.3 million photovoltaic panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai. And now the massive solar farm is about to get a 700 megawatt (MW) extension, which will include the addition of an 853-foot solar tower, the world’s tallest.
The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park became operational in 2013 with 13 MW. It now has a capacity of 200 MW, after the second phase was launched in March this year. But the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has big plans for the solar park: by 2020, they plan to increase capacity to 1,000 MW, with the aim to increase that number to 5,000 MW by 2030. The solar park is the world’s biggest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project.
DEWA recently awarded the 14.2 billion AED fourth phase of the solar park to a consortium including ACWA Power in Saudi Arabia and Shanghai Electric in China. They won the contract with a bid of 7.3 US cents per kilowatt-hour.
DEWA CEO HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said in a statement, “Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world.”
CSP has been more expensive than traditional solar power in the past, which is one of its downsides. But CSP projects also have the ability to store some of the power as heat for later use.
Images via AETOS Wire and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook