Shams Power Company, developer and operator of the Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Western Abu Dhabi, has been recognised for its contribution to local communities at this year’s MENASOL Conference and Exhibition in Dubai.
Ali Buhaji, Senior Manager for Business Development at the Clean Energy division of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, received the event’s Corporate Responsibility Award at a gala dinner on Wednesday.
The annual award goes to solar power companies that have made a ‘meaningful and measurable’ difference to communities across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).
Shams 1 was the world’s largest CSP plant when it was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in March 2013.
The 100-megawatt capacity facility occupying a 2.5 square-kilometre site in the Abu Dhabi desert generates enough electricity to power more than 20,000 homes, and displaces on average 175,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Masdar is an 80% shareholder in Shams Power Company PJSC alongside the international oil & gas company Total.
Abdulaziz Al Obaidli, General Manager of Shams Power Company, said: “This award reflects the key role that Shams 1 is playing in the UAE’s quest to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix, and the positive difference it is making to the quality of life of local communities. The success of Shams 1 has also inspired wider development of clean energy technologies across the MENA region, improving access to critical energy resources and driving social development and economic empowerment beyond the UAE’s borders.”
Since its inception, Shams Power Company has worked closely with schools and colleges in the Western Region, offering work placements and training. The company also sponsors educational and technology-related activities in the community, conducting workshops for teachers and school students promoting awareness of solar energy and its deployment.
Shams 1 also receives around 120 official delegations every year, including government officials, businesses and students.
Now in its eighth year, MENASOL brings together leading industry executives, key influencers, government officials, developers and investors to share insights, technological breakthroughs and market analysis of solar power issues.
This year’s awards gala dinner was held at the Hyatt Regency Dubai.