Masdar News

TAQA and Masdar-led Consortium Announce Financial Closing for the World’s Largest Solar Power Plant

22 Dec 2020
  • 2 GW solar power plant in Al Dhafra received financing from seven international banks
  • 3.5 million solar panels to generate enough power for 160,000 UAE homes using advanced bifacial technology
  • TAQA and Masdar to own 60% of project, and EDF and JinkoPower to own 40%, with EWEC as off-taker

Abu Dhabi, UAE – December 22, 2020: Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar – alongside partners EDF and JinkoPower – announced today the successful financial closing of the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project. 

The record-breaking project, located approximately 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city, will have a capacity of 2 gigawatts and supply power to the plant’s off-taker, 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 3.5 million solar panels to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.

Financing for the project will come from seven international lenders, following the signing of the power purchase agreement in July. Earlier in the year, the competitive bidding for the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power, set at AED 4.97 fils/kWh (USD 1.35 cents/kWh).

The plant will deploy the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology, which will deliver electricity to the highest efficiency enabling the plant to provide more power by using both the front and backside of the panel.

Commenting on the announcement, 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 Noor Abu Dhabi, currently the largest operational solar power plant – TAQA has established itself as a trusted integrated utilities partner that is leading the sector’s transformation in the UAE and beyond. We have an expanded portfolio of power and water assets that we will grow further through a disciplined approach, adding value for our shareholders and delivering a diverse supply of energy for our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate.”

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), said: “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 United Arab Emirates as a location for the world’s largest and most cost-competitive renewable energy projects. Achieving this milestone is a significant step forward in the development of the Al Dhafra project and the realization of the UAE leadership’s vision for a diversified power sector.”

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 in Taweelah, the UAE’s largest and most advanced gas-fired power plant in Fujairah, and now the world’s largest solar power plant in Al Dhafra. These significant achievements are a testament to the integrity of our work, and belief in sustainable and renewable energy as a strategic pillar that will support and drive economic, social, and environmental advancements for future generations. I would like to thank our partners for sharing this collective vision and supporting us as we develop a world leading, highly competitive low-carbon energy sector in the UAE.” 

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said: “The Al Dhafra PV project represents EDF Renewables commitment to using our industry leading solar photovoltaic power expertise to deliver the next generation of solar power production for the UAE. The achievement of financial close with our partners and the investment community is a major milestone for the project, and we now look forward to constructing the solar power plant in preparation for commercial operation in 2022.”

Charles Bai, President of JinkoPower International Business, said: “The successful financial close of the project with renowned international partners reflects the potential of Al Dhafra and also maintains our reputation as a partner of choice. We have demonstrated our capabilities and commitment to solar power in the country, and together with our partners we will combine our resources effectively to enable the UAE’s energy transition.”

The Al Dhafra project will be 60% owned by TAQA and Masdar, while the remaining 40% will be owned by EDF and JinkoPower. 

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About TAQA
Established in 2005, TAQA is a diversified utilities and energy group headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX: TAQA). TAQA is a fully integrated utility company, with significant power and water generation, transmission and distribution assets, as well as upstream and midstream oil and gas operations. The company’s assets are located in Canada, Ghana, India, Iraq, Morocco, Netherlands, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States. For more information, please visit: www.taqa.com.

About Masdar
Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar is advancing the commercialization and deployment of renewable energy, sustainable urban development and clean technologies to address global sustainability challenges. Wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company, the strategic investment company of the Government of Abu Dhabi, our mandate is to help maintain the UAE’s leadership in the global energy sector, while supporting the diversification of both its economy and energy sources for the benefit of future generations. Today, Masdar is active in more than 30 countries, including the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, the US, Australia, Spain, Serbia, India, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan.

About Emirates Water and Electricity Company
Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) drives the planning, forecasting, purchase and supply of water and electricity in Abu Dhabi and beyond. EWEC performs its role as the sole procurer of water and electricity from independent producers, ensuring the short- and long-term balancing of bulk supply and demand for distribution companies. EWEC is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy. For more information please visit www.ewec.ae.

About EDF Renewables 
EDF Renewables is a leading international player in renewable energies, with gross installed capacity of 12.6 GW worldwide. Its development is mainly focused on wind and solar photovoltaic power. EDF Renewables operates mostly in Europe and North America but is continuing to grow by moving into promising emerging regions such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the Gulf. The company has strong positions in offshore wind power, but also in other areas of the renewable energies industry such as energy storage. EDF Renewables develops, builds, operates and maintains renewable energies projects, both for itself and for third parties. Most of its international subsidiaries bear the EDF Renewables brand. EDF Renewables is the EDF Group subsidiary specialising in developing solar and wind power. For more information, visit: www.edf-renewables.com

About JinkoPower
Founded in 2011, JinkoPower is a leading global IPP that develops, builds, finances, owns and operates solar power plants. We are committed to make solar energy the most sustainable and competitive source of energy worldwide. As of December 2019, the Company had owned and connected about 3 GW of solar projects in China.  We also owned and managed a proprietary international asset portfolio in Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East (including the partial ownership of Sweihan Project, the world’s largest standalone PV plant located in Abu Dhabi). We have a global pipeline projects in counts of GWs which are in various stages of execution.