DEWA launches fifth phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

The project uses the latest solar PV bifacial technologies, which allows solar radiation to reach the front and back of the panels, with single-axis tracking to increase generation

The 300 megawatt (MW) first stage of the 900MW fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Once complete, the fifth phase will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, including 90,000 residences by the commissioned first stage. It will reduce 1.18m tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Fifth phase investments amount to $560m, DEWA explained in its statement.

To be commissioned in stages until 2023, the fifth phase uses the latest solar photovoltaic bifacial technologies with Single Axis Tracking to increase energy production, the utility company noted.

“Commissioning the 300MW first stage of the fifth phase of the solar park increases DEWA’s total capacity of clean energy to 1,310MW. This includes 100MW from the world’s tallest CSP tower at 262.44 metres, 200MW from first project of the parabolic trough, and 217MW using photovoltaic solar panels,” said DEWA MD & CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer.

This brings clean energy capacity in Dubai’s energy mix to around 10%. DEWA’s production capacity has increased to 13,200MW of electricity and 490m imperial gallons of desalinated water per day (MIGD). By the end of 2021, clean energy capacity will increase to 13.3% of Dubai’s total energy mix after adding 517MW from solar photovoltaic panels and CSP in the fourth phase of the solar park, the statement pointed out.

The project is being implemented by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) using the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model. It is the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned total capacity of 5,000MW by 2030, said a statement.

DEWA added that the projects constitute one of the key pillars of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050.

To implement the project, DEWA established Shuaa Energy 3 in partnership with a consortium led by Saudi-based Acwa Power and Gulf Investment Corporation. The Dubai utility provider has a 60% stake in the company, while the rest is owned by the consortium, the statement clarified.

Acwa Power chairman Mohammad Abunayyan remarked, “We, a renowned Saudi company, are at the forefront of global efforts in progressing the energy transformation. Stemming from this notion, and based on our long-term strategic partnership with Dewa, the launch of the first stage of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been completed in record time of less than twelve months.”

He added, “The milestone reached today stands testament to our commitment to fulfil our mission despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, and reinforces our support of DEWA’s ambitious vision of strengthening the green ecosystem in Dubai and adopting innovative sustainable solutions. These solutions have already been demonstrated through our portfolio of projects that span 13 countries in three continents. We mark this occasion with great pride and would like to reiterate our commitment in supporting the development of pioneering sustainable development plans in Dubai.”

During the event, Sheikh Mohammed also launched a project to study the feasibility of generating electricity by utilising wind energy in Hatta. The statement explained that based on field visits and available preliminary data on wind in Hatta, DEWA has identified the location for a wind farm with a total capacity of about 28MW. Actual wind speed for a full year is currently being measured at the location using a 150m metal tower.

The purpose is to collect accurate data and study the total capacity of the power plant as well as other technical details in terms of number of turbines, capacity of each, annual operating hours, among other things, the statement concluded.

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