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.