The largest investment project in the world, combining Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and photovoltaic solar power, with investments totalling AED 15.78 billion, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will, upon its completion, have the largest energy storage capacity (15 hours) on the planet.
Built by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the fourth phase will be operational in stages starting from Q3 2021, and will provide clean energy for 320,000 residences, and will reduce 1.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
The World’s Tallest Solar Tower
The new facility uses three hybrid technologies to produce clean energy: 600MW from a parabolic basin complex (three units of 200MW each), 100MW from a solar power tower (based on molten salt technology), and 250MW from photovoltaic solar panels.
A consortium led by DEWA and ACWA Power formed a project company, Noor Energy 1, to design, build, and operate the plant, with DEWA owning 51%, ACWA 25%, and Silk Road Fund 24% of the company.
Featuring the world’s tallest solar tower at 262.44 metres, the project, which covers a total area of 44 square kilometres, has broken a number of world records, including the levelised cost of electricity of 7.3 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the 700MW CSP, and 2.4 US cents per kWh for the 250MW photovoltaic solar panels.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has a planned total capacity of 5,000MW by 2030. The molten salt receiver sitting on top of the solar power tower is the core of the CSP plant, and the total capacity of operational projects at the solar park is 1,013MW. DEWA is creating an additional capacity of 1,850MW using solar panels and CSP.
Shaping the Future
DEWA’s Innovation Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a pioneering global hub for the advance of renewable and clean energy, which is expected to shape the global future of sustainable energy.
By way of the Innovation Centre, DEWA intends to encourage innovation and creativity in clean and renewable energy, endorse sustainability, develop Emirati talent, and enhance the country’s competitive advantage in this fast-growing sector. The Innovation Centre’s research on solar power supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which endeavours to expand the energy mix and provide 75% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources.
It is the first and largest government centre to have been presented with the ‘Done by Youth’ seal from the Federal Youth Authority. Developed by a team of young Emiratis, this supports the next generation of innovators in clean energy technologies, while focusing on developing national capabilities. The Innovation Centre will be an educational platform that hosts events, conferences, seminars, and workshops. It will build a strong partnership with schools, universities, start-ups, and local and international organisations for research, knowledge-exchange, and organisation of exhibitions.
The Innovative Centre houses an auditorium for events, conferences, and training programmes on solar power, renewable energy, and other green initiatives. The four-storey building covers 4,355m2 and is 88 metres high.
Visitors get the opportunity to explore the latest innovations in clean energy technologies. The exhibition area on the first floor focuses on DEWA’s history, important inventions and innovations in electricity, and the latest developments in renewable and sustainable energy. The area also contains in excess of 30 interactive exhibits that are designed to introduce visitors to renewable energy developments.
The site also houses the DEWA Museum, water desalination plants, and a visual space that explains the properties of light and solar radiation. There is an exhibition on photovoltaic solar power too, featuring the crucial components of solar photovoltaic cells, solar photovoltaic technologies, CSP and the Solar Power Tower. In addition, it showcases DEWA’s renewable energy journey, Smart DEWA, solar cell applications in spacecraft and satellites, a model that explains the working mechanisms of electric vehicles, a wind turbine, and the development of DEWA’s sustainable buildings.
The Innovation Centre received a platinum rating from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) with 101 points out of a possible 110 in the first quarter of 2020. This is the highest score in the world for a new government building.
The Innovation Centre received this accolade in recognition of achieving high scores in water efficiency, internal environment quality, energy efficiency, innovation, and design. Rainwater is also collected and treated on-site.