UAE opens world's largest solar plant project

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE on Sunday officially inaugurated Shams 1, the largest concentrated solar power plant in operation in the world.

Located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, the 100-megawatt, grid connected power plant will generate clean energy to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed his pride in the inauguration of Shams 1, calling it a major achievement in the UAE's goal of energy and economic diversification.

"Expanding our leadership into renewable sources of power demonstrates the United Arab Emirates' commitment to maintaining its position as a major provider of energy," he said.

"The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major milestone in our country's economic diversification and a step toward long-term energy security," he added.

"Shams 1 is a strategic investment in our country's economic, social and environmental prosperity. "The domestic production of renewable energy extends the life of our country's valuable hydrocarbon resources and supports the growth of a promising new industry."

Holding nearly half of the world's renewable energy potential, the Middle East and North Africa is poised for unprecedented growth in renewable energy.

"The inauguration of Shams 1 is a breakthrough for renewable energy development in the Middle East," said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.

"With the demand for energy rising exponentially, the region is undergoing a major transformation in how it generates electricity. In fact, the Middle East is poised for major investments in renewables, and Shams 1 proves the economic and environmental advantage of deploying large-scale solar projects."

Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60 percent), Total (20 percent) and Abengoa Solar (20 percent).

The project reduces the UAE's carbon emissions, displacing approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, an equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees, or taking 15,000 cars off the road.

Covering an area of 2.5 sq km - or 285 football fields - Shams 1 incorporates the latest in parabolic trough technology and features more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors.

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Posted by: D. Satya Narayana

I m very delighted to see this achievement in solar power by UAE government. By venturing similar renewable energy projects we can control the climate change and protect the planet.
I am confident other countries would also focus on renewable energy to utilize the resources available such as wind, solar, waste to energy, etc.
I was more happy to recollect my previous achievements way back in 1977 where my UG students and me a PG student designed solar refrigerator of 420 liters capacity in Guindy Engineering college, Chennai, project was sponsored by University of Madras and was appreciated even back then at that time, Specially visited and appreciated by that time solar experts Dr. Chellapa from Australia and other experts from USA

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Raj you will be happy to know that India is planning to have 3 plants this size in 2013 and Abengoa is busy working on one that is 350Mwatts in Mojave
And if you measure output at station not at plant level, there are maybe 20 or so this size or bigger, half of them in Spain where they have been an unmitigated financial and regulatory disaster
You will be even happier to know that there are several photovoltaic plant this size or larger (larger I think is 250 Megawatts)
@Hunter, because you need 56 like this to match the output of a single nuclear plant. Or some 800 to provide the additional 90 Terawatts the UAE will require by 2020
@RS, this is very different from your residential solar cells. There are good reasons you do not want to build this close to inhabited areas. Unless you want to cook wandering children or pets, that is. That and cost/efficiency, you are talking a very different game with this, but even with (I think) quite reasonable costs you are talking a huge CAPEX

Posted by: procan

Solar Power leaders mmmmm lets see. Germany 9,745 MW Spain 3,380 MW Japan 1,650 MW UAE 100 MW keep up the good work.

Posted by: Hunter

Great! Now remind me why we need a nuclear plant...?

Posted by: Calvin

So you don't end up like Kuwait, expecting power cuts in 2014!
Better safe than sorry.

Posted by: procan

Solar power is not storable in a fiscal way its use it or lose it.
Nothing beats Nuke is there when you want .Most conditions ie night time, sand storms, low light conditions but I am just a lay person. Lets get a expert to explain . Oh sorry they were expats ask to leave county. Have they figured out how to self clean solar panels yet ? We call it maintenance not exactly third world labour work so you might need more over payed expats. Previous to this press release Canada had the largest single solar plant 97 MW in Sarina ,Ontario. Sam would know we build, service, every thing with our own Canadian team .By 2015 we will produce 2650 MW here. Humbly we a minor players thou Germany produces 9,745 MV, Spain 3,380 MW, Japan 2,633 MW and so on. So welcome new guys

Posted by: Red Snappa

Now that is what I would term a giant step for the UAE, excellent news, they should start building sollar power farms all across the country. Take Dubai inland developments like Emaar's Arabian Ranches or Nakheel's (Is it still Nakheel, I heard it had been taken over?) Jumeirah Golf Estates could quite easily be powered by solar, take the strain off DEWA and the source is free, if not the equipment.

The latter could represent a huge manufacturing industry in UAE, a public sector style entity even with many new jobs on the assembly lines and in engineering and installation for nationals.

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