Construction of the first grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Middle East and North Africa is under way, according to Masdar, Abu Dhabi's alternative energy initiative.
The solar power plant will generate clean electricity to support the ongoing construction activities of Masdar City and later will be the power provider for the Masdar Institute, which opens later this year.
The PV plant will also supply smart clean energy to the Masdar Site Administration Facilities, the announcement said. Any excess energy generated will be supplied to the Abu Dhabi grid providing Abu Dhabi consumers with their first experience of alternative energy.
The plant, consisting of 50 per cent thin film and 50 per cent crystalline, is projected to generate 17,500 MWh of clean energy each year with 15,000 tonnes of annual CO2 savings. A single kWh of green energy is the carbon-offset equivalent of 0.8kg, depending on an area's network and its energy producing source. Following the complete installation of all 87,777 film and photo crystalline silicon panels, the plant will be grid connected. The plant was designed and installed by Abu Dhabi-based solar power system integrator Enviromena Power Systems.
"This plant signals a bold step forward in the drive to increase the adoption of alternative energy in the region. It provides the foundation on which Masdar City will be built, and demonstrates the viability and attractiveness for further PV plants to be built within the region," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.
"More importantly, our drive towards encouraging local companies to form global partnerships and initiate knowledge transfer is an integral component to delivering on the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030 set by our leadership," he said.
With a construction cost of Dh185 million and an installed power capacity of 10MWp, the plant is expected to be one the most cost-efficient PV installations in the world in terms of its projected power output. Sami Khoreibi, CEO and President of Enviromena, said: "When designing this plant for Masdar, we focused on using world-class components, while using locally based contractors. In alignment with Masdar's goals, this cost efficient system will further promote the implementation of solar technology both in the region and beyond.
"As a locally based company, we appreciate the opportunity awarded us by Masdar and their confidence in our abilities."