UAE's Taqa confirms financial closing for Al Dhafra solar power plant
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UAE’s Taqa confirms financial closing for Al Dhafra solar power plant

UAE’s Taqa confirms financial closing for Al Dhafra solar power plant

Upon full commercial operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons per year

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and its partners Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower, confirmed the financial closing of the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project.

Financing for the project will come from seven international banks, following the signing of the power purchase agreement in July 2020.

Earlier in the year, the bidding for the project led to a competitive tariff for solar power, set at Dhs4.97 fils/kWh ($1.35 cents/kWh), which upon financial closing, was further improved to Dhs4.85 fils/kWh ($1.32 cents/kWh). TAQA will own 40 per cent of the Al Dhafra project, while the remaining partners, Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower, will have a 20 per cent stake each.

The project, located approximately 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city, will have a capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) and will supply power to Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC).

Once operational, the Al Dhafra Solar PV IPP will be the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, using approximately 4 million solar panels to generate electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.

The plant will deploy the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology, which will enable the plant to provide more efficient electricity by capturing solar irradiation from both the front and backside of the panel.

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

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and managing director at TAQA, said: “The financial closing of the world’s largest solar plant marks the beginning of an important chapter for this IPP project, for TAQA Group and for the UAE as we continue to deliver on our bold clean energy ambitions, while demonstrating the commercial and operational viability of utility-scale single-site solar projects.

“Through this project and many others – such as TAQA’s Noor Abu Dhabi, currently the world’s largest operational solar power plant – we have established the company as a trusted integrated utilities partner that is leading the sector’s transformation in the UAE and beyond.”

“We congratulate all the partners on achieving the financial close for this monumental solar power project, which again underlines the growing appeal of renewable energy from both a commercial and environmental perspective, and the attractiveness of the UAE as a location for the world’s largest and most cost-competitive renewable energy projects,” noted Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive officer of Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company).

Othman Al Ali, chief executive officer of EWEC, said: “Reaching the financial close for a project of this scale and efficiency marks another milestone in EWEC’s commitment to developing the UAE’s renewable energy sector. Over the past 12 months EWEC has collaborated with international, regional, and local partners during the bidding, negotiation, and financial close for a number of ground-breaking projects: the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination project at Taweelah, the UAE’s largest and most advanced gas-fired power plant in Fujairah, and now the world’s largest solar power plant at Al Dhafra.”

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