Dubai aims for 25% solar share as flagship project grows again

Dubai has unveiled plans to get 25% of its energy from 6.5GW of solar by 2030, by building the world’s largest PV array at 5GW and putting a PV array on the roof of every building – with development backed by a new 100bn dirham ($27bn) green fund.

The Middle East state aims to have its flagship Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park operating at 5GW by the end of the next decade, extending the final capacity planned for the giant complex by a further 2GW and giving it a total price tag of 50bn dirham ($13.6bn).

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is currently running a tender for the 800MW third phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum development, which began life as a pilot array of just 13MW in 2013.

The 200MW second phase of the project – due to enter service in 2017 – will be equipped with modules from US thin-film group First Solar, after Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and Spanish partner TSK won the contract to build it at a world-record subsidy-free low price of $58.50/MWh.

The complex forms part of a Dubai solar strategy that now includes 1.5GW of rooftop PV, with the government pushing for panels on every building in the city state.

The solar capacity is designed to help Dubai meet 25% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030, and 75% by 2050, said its government, which will back its ambitions with a Dubai Green Fund worth 100bn dirham offering low-interest finance to investors in clean energy projects.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Our goal is to become the city with the least carbon footprint in the world by 2050.”