Abu Dhabi’s Shams solar plant shapes UAE clean energy transition
Shams Power Company will soon launch the Al Dhafrah Innovation Centre, the region’s first interactive hub on renewable energy
Operated by Abu Dhabi-based Shams Power Company, and owned by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), Total, and Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, the 100MW Shams plant – which is one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants spanning an area of 2.5km2 – is celebrating its seventh anniversary.
The Shams solar plant displaces 175,000 tons of CO2 every year – equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees or taking approximately 15,000 cars off the road – and has paved the way for other ambitious clean energy projects, including the world’s largest solar plant, Noor Abu Dhabi, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
According to the state-run news agency, Wam, Shams continues to contribute significantly to the UAE’s clean energy transition, and is helping the nation prepare for the next 50 years.
Commenting on the milestone, the director-general of the Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, Khalaf Abdullah Rahma Al Hammadi, said: “Our journey towards excellence and success relies on building bridges of cooperation with unique entities in all fields. This has been achieved over the past years through our fruitful partnership and successful investment in Shams Power Company, which has seen many achievements worldwide in the field of clean energy.”
Shams represented the world’s largest financing transaction for a solar energy project in 2011, when the company announced the financial closing of the $600m project.
The general manager of the Shams Power Company, Majed Al Awadhi, said: “Looking back over the past seven operating years, and almost 10 years since the commencement of this project, we are proud and privileged to be a part of this visionary venture.”
Al Awadhi added: “By undertaking this investment, UAE leaders were among the first in the world and in the MENA region who recognised the importance of clean energy, sustainability, and diversification for growth.”
Located 120km from Abu Dhabi in the Al Dhafra region, Shams powers more than 20,000 homes, and includes 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors.
Commenting on the drive towards solar in the UAE, the executive director of Masdar Clean Energy and chairman of the Shams Power Company, Yousif Al Ali, said: “Today, utility-scale solar plants are increasingly common in the Middle East and, without question, projects such as Shams helped pave the way.”
Currently, UAE citizens hold 75% of the management positions and account for 70% of the female employees at Shams Power Company.
As part of its commitment to the community, Shams Power Company will soon launch the Al Dhafrah Innovation Centre, the region’s first interactive hub for knowledge about renewable energy, sustainable development, the UAE’s clean energy projects, in general, and Shams Power Company, in particular.