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Abu Dhabi’s EWEC awards contract for ‘world’s largest’ solar power plant

Abu Dhabi’s EWEC awards contract for ‘world’s largest’ solar power plant

Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to provide approximately 160,000 households across the UAE with electricity

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has awarded the contract for the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) project to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar.

The solar power plant in Abu Dhabi – set to be the world’s largest when operational – will produce electricity at one of the most cost-competitive tariffs for solar PV energy, set at Dhs4.97 fils/kWh ($1.35 cents/kWh).

The Independent Power Producer (IPP) 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.

Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to approximately 3.2GW.

Read: New record-breaking solar plant announced for Abu Dhabi

It is also expected to reduce the emirate’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road when completed.

“We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs,” said Othman Al Ali, chief executive officer of EWEC.

“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.”

The latest study published by the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts 8.5 terawatts (TW) of global solar capacity by 2050. Solar will see its share of global power generation rise to 13 per cent by 2030 and a quarter by 2050, according to the study.

Improved PV technology is driving the production of ever-cheaper solar electricity.

The study notes the historic prices recorded in national PV generation capacity auctions indicate solar power could be produced for an average of $0.048/kWh next year, a figure 44 per cents lower than the cost of solar produced by generation facilities commissioned last year.

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