2 GW solar power plant in Al Dhafra received financing from seven international banks
4 million solar panels to generate enough power for 160,000 UAE homes using advanced bifacial technology
TAQA to own 40% of project, and Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower to own 20% each, with EWEC as procurer
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) – alongside partners Masdar, EDF Renewables 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 (GW) and will supply power to 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 4 million solar panels to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.
Financing for the project will come from seven international banks, following the signing of the power purchase agreement in July 2020. 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), which upon financial closing, was further improved to AED 4.85 fils/kWh (USD 1.32 cents/kWh), primarily driven by hedging and financing cost improvements, in addition to other optimization efforts. TAQA will own 40% of the Al Dhafra project, while the remaining partners – Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower – will have a 20% stake each.
The plant will deploy the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology, which will enable the plant to provide more efficient electricity by capturing solar irradiation from both the front and backside of the panel. Upon full commercial operation, the plant is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
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 TAQA’s Noor Abu Dhabi, currently the world’s largest operational solar power plant – we have established the company 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 UAE 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 at Taweelah, the UAE’s largest and most advanced gas-fired power plant in Fujairah, and now the world’s largest solar power plant at 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 highlights EDF’s full commitment to supporting the UAE National Climate Change Plan. We are using our solar photovoltaic power best expertise to deliver the next generation of solar plants in Abu Dhabi. The achievement of financial close with our partners and the investment community is a major milestone for the project, and we are now looking forward to start the construction phase of the solar plant with the objective of reaching commercial operations in 2022.”
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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.
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 13.2 GW worldwide. 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 Arabian 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 and builds renewable energies projects, including operational and maintenance. EDF Renewables is the EDF Group subsidiary. For more information, visit: www.edf-renewables.com.
Founded in 2011, JinkoPower is a well-known global IPP that develops, builds, finances, owns and operates solar power plants. We strive to make solar the most sustainable and competitive source of energy worldwide.
As of September 2020, the company has owned and connected about 3 GW of solar projects in China. We also manage a large international portfolio of assets including the world's largest solar plant under operation that we partially took part in. We are developing a global pipeline of GW scaled projects in our key markets including China, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.