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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