EWEC announces partners to develop the world’s largest solar plant

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The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a leading company in the coordination of planning, purchasing and providing of water and electricity across the UAE, has announced the award for the world’s largest solar power plant.

The project was awarded to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower, for the development of the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) project. The project’s power purchase agreement (PPA) and shareholders’ agreement were signed with EWEC.

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The Independent Power Producer (IPP) project will be located approximately 35 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city.

The rigorous procurement process resulted in one of the most cost-competitive tariffs for solar PV energy, set at AED 4.97 fils/kWh ($1.35 cents/kWh) on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) basis.

Upon full commercial operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.

The Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity. It will be larger than TAQA’s existing 1.2GW ‘Noor Abu Dhabi’ solar plant, which is currently the world’s largest operational single-project solar PV plant.

Speaking about the milestone, Othman Al Ali, CEO of EWEC, said: “We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power. We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs.

“Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE.”

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at ࢀŽTAQA, said: “The Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for our nation and the global energy sector… Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW.”

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “At Masdar, we are honoured to join EWEC, TAQA, EDF, JinkoPower, and the many other prestigious partners involved in this outstanding project. We are excited to be working with them to realise the world’s largest single-site solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, building on our existing portfolio of world-class projects in the UAE, including Shams in Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi, and the third phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.”

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said: “…For EDF, the signing of the PPA for Al Dhafra Solar PV is a testimony of the confidence that the government and EWEC have in our industrial abilities.

“The project will use the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology delivering electricity to the highest efficiency and at a world record-low tariff in such irradiation conditions. It will support the UAE’s unique vision and leadership position in the development of a diverse range of renewable energy solutions that will provide sustainable and efficient power for generations to come.”

Through this project, 60% will be owned by a consortium comprising TAQA and Masdar, while the remaining 40% will be owned by EDF and JinkoPower. The project’s financial closure is expected to occur in Q3 2020, enabling initial power generation in the first half of 2022 and full generation in the second half of 2022. Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW.

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