Dubai solar tender sees record-low $29.90/MWh bid

Dubai’s utility locked in five final bids for the 800MW third phase of its landmark Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, including a $0.0299/kWh offer – by far the lowest subsidy-free bid for solar power in history.

The lowest bid came from the United Arab Emirates' own Masdar working alongside Spanish partner Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, according to local reports.

The price undercuts Enel Green Power's record-low bid in Mexico's recent renewables tender, setting yet another record for the industry.

The other four bids reportedly came from China’s JinkoSolar; Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and US partner First Solar; France’s Engie and Japanese partner Marubeni; and France’s EDF and Qatari partner Nebras.

ACWA Power and Spanish partner TSK won the bidding to build the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum project at a then-record low price of $58.50/MWh, with First Solar supplying modules.

Bidding in the third round, however, saw that figure nearly cut in half. Whether the low bid of $29.90/MWh is seen by DEWA as a viable, however, remains to be seen.

Analysts have warned that overly aggressive bidding in a growing number of emerging solar markets, including India and Mexico, could lead to unprofitable projects.

The Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) released a Request for Expressions of Interest for the 800MW third phase of the project last September, and followed with a formal Request for Proposal in December.

After receiving 95 initial expressions of interest, the final field of bidders was narrowed to five, DEWA says. The utility will now begin reviewing the “technical and commercial aspects” of the bids before selecting a winner.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park began as a 13MW pilot project in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, before being expanded through a 200MW second phase which is due to enter service next year.

Late last year Dubai expanded its renewables ambitions, saying it will have 6.5GW of solar online by 2030 – enough to generate 25% of the emirate’s power.