An Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract was recently awarded for the 1,800 MW Phase 6 of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is reportedly one of the largest solar power projects in the world based on an independent power producer (IPP) model. It is spread over an area of 77 square kilometres located in Saih Al-Dahal, approximately 50 km south of the city of Dubai.
Featuring photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies, the project has a planned production capacity of 5,000 MW. It is being carried out by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in phases and it is expected to be completed by 2030.
The contract in question was reportedly awarded to Masdar, the renewable EPC arm of L&T’s Power Transmission & Distribution business. It includes the development and construction of a 1,800 MW solar power plant on over 20 square kilometres of land.
The scope of work under this contract also includes the implementation of related evacuation and interconnection arrangements. These comprise two Gas Insulated Substations (GI), high-voltage underground cabling and medium-voltage distribution networks. The works are expected to be completed in phases between 2024 and 2026.
While it did not disclose the specific value of the contract, L&T in its statement categorized the award as ‘mega,’ ranging between US$ 1.2 billion and US$ 1.8 billion.
Implementation and timelines of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park
Phase 1 and 2
Dubbed “DEWA 13” the first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was constructed by First Solar between 2012 and Oct 2013. Featuring a total of 152,880 FS-385 black CdTe modules connected to 13 step-up transformers, the 13 MWp DEWA 13 generates over 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
The second phase of the project was developed and executed by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power as the main developer and Spain’s TSK as the main contractor. This phase led to the delivery of a 200 MW photovoltaic plant in March 2017.
The facility became the first and the largest of its kind to be carried out on the IPP model in the region. It includes a total of 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels and it is spread over an area of 4.5 square kilometres.
Reportedly, the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park cost a total of US$320 million. Its implementation was enabled through a loan from the First Gulf Bank, the National Commercial Bank and the Samba Financial Group.
Phase 3 and 4 of one of the world’s largest IPP solar projects
With a capacity of 800MW, the third phase of the solar park came to life in 2016 when DEWA announced the Abu Dubai Future Energy Company (Masdar) led consortium as the selected bidder.
Featuring 3 million modules with advanced photovoltaic technologies such as a solar tracking system that increases generation by 20%-30, this phase became fully operational in 2020. It was the first to feature an advanced solar tracking system in the Arab world i.e. Middle East and North Africa.
The 4th Phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is probably the most famous of all. It is the largest single-site concentrated solar power plant in the world and it features the tallest solar tower in the world standing 260 meters high.
This is none other than the 950 MW Noor Energy 1 that was developed and built for US$3.8 billion. Noor Energy 1, a project company formed by DEWA, ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund designed, built, and operates the solar power plant. DEWA owns 51% of the company, while ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund hold 25% and 24% shares of the company respectively.
Noor Energy 1 utilizes a total of three hybrid technologies i.e. the tower (based on Molten Salt technology), which generates a total of 100MW; three parabolic trough CSP units that generate a total of 200MW each and the traditional photovoltaic solar panels that generate 250MW.
In Nov 2019, DEWA announced the selection of ACWA Power and Gulf Investment Corporation as the preferred EPC contractor and financer of the fifth phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The 900MW phase became fully operational in June 2023 providing clean energy to 270,000 residences or its thereabouts in Dubai. In total the project cost over half a billion US$.