A high-level delegation that includes 25 officials, experts, and specialists, from the World Bank, energy companies and international utilities, visited the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai to learn about Dubai's experience in developing leading photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects. This took place at the conclusion of the 3-day ‘CSP Markets, System Value, and Financing workshop’, which was organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in cooperation with the World Bank.
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, emphasised that DEWA is committed to sharing its expertise in implementing major solar energy projects, notably the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar project in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model. The solar park has a planned capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, with a total investment of AED50 billion. When completed, it will save approximately 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The 213MW photovoltaic first two phases are already operational. The 800MW photovoltaic third phase and the 700MW CSP fourth phase are currently under construction. The AED14.2 billion fourth phase is the largest single-site CSP project in the world and will feature the world’s highest solar tower, reaching 260 metres, and will be commissioned in stages, starting from Q4 of 2020.
The major projects launched by DEWA have contributed to reducing the cost of solar projects globally. DEWA received a globally-competitive price of 2.99 USD cents per kW/h for the photovoltaic third phase of the solar park, and 7.3 USD cents per kW/h for the CSP fourth phase.
“We believe CSP is a critical technology to achieve a sustainable energy transition. CSP is dispatchable, essentially providing ’24-hour solar’ generation to enable grids to absorb more of today’s inexpensive PV and wind-generated intermittent supply. As the cost of both PV and CSP come down, combining the two, like we see here in Dubai, is a growing trend. All countries that participate in this development are helping to drive costs down for each other,” said Erik Fernstrom, Energy and Extractives Global Practice Manager at the World Bank.
The AED 1.2 billion 200MW photovoltaic second phase of the solar park is the first and largest solar power project in the region based on the IPP model. It will generate clean energy for 50,000 residences in Dubai, and will reduce 214,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year. This phase installed 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels over 4.5 square kilometres.
The delegation visited the Solar Testing Centre at the solar park, which includes test technologies for photovoltaic panels and for CSP as well. The centre is currently testing over 30 photovoltaic panel types from global manufacturers to check their performance, analyse them, and test their long-term reliability in the local climate. The tests will set a baseline for the development of international specifications, tests and standards for photovoltaic equipment, and tackling the effects of dust soiling photovoltaic panels. The technical testing platforms include a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) module, a multi-angle test unit for solar panels, a mono-axis solar tracker, and a bi-directional tracer. The results of these tests will enable DEWA to enhance the use of solar technology, and to understand its long-term reliability in the local climate.
The delegation thanked DEWA for giving them the opportunity to review its experience in developing leading photovoltaic and CSP solar projects.