2GW record breaking Al Dhafra solar power plant reaches financial closing

Taqa to own 40 pc in project that uses 4 mn solar panels

ABU DHABI/December 22-2020: Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) – alongside partners Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower – announced successful financial closing of the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project, world’s largest single-site solar power plant.

The record-breaking project, located approximately 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city, will have a capacity of 2 gigawatts (2GW) 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 (PPA) in July 2020.

Most competitive tariff

Earlier in the year, the competitive bidding for the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power, set at AED4.97 fils/kWh (1.35 cents/kWh), which upon financial closing, was further improved to AED4.85 fils/kWh (1.32 cents/kWh), primarily driven by hedging and financing cost improvements, in addition to other optimization efforts.

TAQA will own 40 per cent of the Al Dhafra project, while the remaining partners – Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower – will have a 20 per cent 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.

Project to reduce CO2 emissions

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.

Jasim Husain Thabet (seen in the picture), 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 the company continues to deliver on its 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,” he said.

Large portfolio of power

Taqa has an expanded portfolio of power and water assets that it will grow further through a disciplined approach, adding value for the shareholders and delivering a diverse supply of energy for the stakeholders and the communities in which the company operates.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), said the financial closing 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.

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.”

 

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