World's largest solar project begins operation in UAE

Emirates Water and Electricity Company, EWEC, has announced that 'Noor Abu Dhabi', the world's largest single solar project, with a capacity of 1,177MW, has started commercial operation.

The project will enable Abu Dhabi to increase its production of renewable energy and reduce the use of natural gas in electricity generation, helping to make energy more sustainable and efficient and reducing the emirate's carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million metric tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing 200,000 cars off the roads.

The Dh3.2 billion solar plant, located at Sweihan in Abu Dhabi, is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Government and a consortium of Japan's Marubeni Corp and China's Jinko Solar Holding.

Providing enough capacity to cover the demand of 90,000 people, the plant features more than 3.2 million solar panels, installed across an 8 km2 site. Beyond size, Noor Abu Dhabi broke another record at the time of bid submission attracting the world's most competitive tariff of 8.888 fils/kWh.

The achievement of Commercial Operation Date, COD, means the plant is now completed and has started full commercial operation. To reach this milestone on time, over 2,900 people were working on site during peak construction.

Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of EWEC said, "The completion of the project marks a significant milestone in the UAE's Energy Strategy 2050, launched in 2017, to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent by 2050 while reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent. This is in line with the sector's transformation strategy by providing alternative sources of energy that can help us improve the sustainability of the water and electricity sector."

Othman Jumaa Al Ali, EWEC's CEO, added, "Noor Abu Dhabi will generate renewable energy and will enable us to improve the use of our natural resources. The fact that a project of such scale has been successfully completed on time and on budget highlights our commitment to ensuring sustainable energy for the future and it is a true testament of the emirate's delivery capabilities to execute world-class energy projects. Noor Abu Dhabi will further contribute to the UAE's renewable sector, exponentially increasing the existing solar capacity of Abu Dhabi, as well as adding to the continuously growing solar capacity of the UAE."

Kangping Chen, CEO of Jinko Solar, said, "It is our privilege to participate and contribute to the winning and successful execution of this significant project, which will help power the sustainable economic growth of Abu Dhabi. We are thankful to the government team for creating a world-class tender programme, their high-level of professionalism and their strong support throughout the process."

In line with the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, the project - a venture between international companies and managed and constructed by a multi-national team - signifies the multi-cultural essence of the country and its ability to nurture top talent from around the world.