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CMEC begins Al-Dhafra solar project construction

The 2GW Al-Dhafra solar project in Abu Dhabi is the world's largest single-site solar photovoltaic plant.

China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has confirmed construction works have started on the 2GW Al-Dhafra solar independent power producer (IPP) project, the world’s largest single-site solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, in Abu Dhabi.

The firm also said it never considered withdrawing from the $1bn engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract that it won this year for project.

MEED reported on 7 June that the firm was reconsidering its role in the project due to higher solar panel prices.

Project milestones

State utility Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) signed the power-purchase agreement (PPA) and shareholders agreement with the developer consortium that will implement the project in July 2020.

The consortium comprises Taqa, which will own 40 per cent of the project; and Masdar, France’s EDF and China’s Jinko Power, which will each own 20 per cent.

The project reached financial close in December, with seven international banks providing project financing.

Ewec received five initial bids for the contract to develop the scheme in November 2019.

The EDF/Jinko Power team submitted a levelised cost of electricity of AED4.97 fils a kilowatt-hour (kWh) (1.35 $cents/kWh).

Ewec had previously said it expects initial power generation from the plant in the first half of 2022 and full generation by the second half of that year.

Once fully operational, the plant will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power capacity to about 3.2GW.

The consultancy team advising the client includes the UK's Alderbook, the US' White & Case and Austria's ILF Consulting.

The project will involve the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the solar plant under a 30-year PPA.

According to Ewec, the planned solar plant will cover an area of 20 square kilometres and provide electricity to up to 110,000 households.

Upon completion, the project is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi's carbon emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes a year, equivalent to removing about 470,000 cars from the roads.


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