Dubai ruler inaugurates Phase 2 of MBR Solar Park

Fatima De La Cerna , March 20th, 2017

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated today the 200MW second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Implemented by DEWA in partnership with a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power as the main developer and Spain’s TSK as the main contractor, the second phase is expected to generate clean energy for 50,000 residences in Dubai and to reduce 214,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

In the speech he delivered during the inauguration, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, noted that Phase 2 of the solar park is ready for operation ahead of schedule. Previous statements from DEWA had the target completion date set for April of this year.

Al Tayer, sharing details about the development, said: “This phase installed 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels over 450ha (4.5km2), with 1.5 million safe man-hours without Lost Time Injury (LTI) during project execution.”

The head of DEWA also highlighted that Phase 2 is the first and the largest of its kind that is based on the independent power producer (IPP) model.

Commenting on the significance of the IPP model on the energy sector, Paddy Padmanathan, the president and CEO of ACWA Power, told Construction Week that costs are going to go down and will remain down as a result of the collaboration between the public and private sectors.

He explained: “The IPP model tends to deliver cost-competitive solutions, because we [the private sector] are putting our money into our investments. And the reality is when I put my money into something, I’m going to make sure the project survives and that it is done optimally.

“Think about it – what is the IPP model? The IPP model is us, the private sector, coming in and investing our own money, which we then get back after 20, 25 years. We, therefore, need to make sure the cost is competitive, so people can keep paying us, and that the plant works, so we can get our money back.”

He concluded: “That’s why the IPP model is so cost-effective, cost-competitive, and reliable – because we lose all our money if it doesn’t work.”

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the largest single-site solar park in the world. It spans over 8,500ha (85km2), and is expected to generate 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030, with total investments worth up to $13.6bn (AED50bn). Upon completion, the solar park is also expected to reduce over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

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