A consortium including EDF and JinkoSolar will build a 2GW solar project in the United Arab Emirates that’s said to be the world’s largest on a single site and set to supply renewable power at record-low prices.
The French energy group and Chinese PV manufacturer, along with local developer Masdar and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company TAQA signed a power purchase agreement with Emirates Water and Electricity Company for the Al Dhafra Solar project that they will build 35km from Abu Dhabi City, with full operation slated for the end of 2022.
The signing of the PPA after several months of negotiation seals the success of the consortium in a tender to build Al Dhafra that saw it bid the equivalent of $13.50/MWh on a levelised cost of energy basis, said at the time to be a record-low for renewables, beating the $16.44/MWh set at a solar auction in Portugal in 2019.
The Al Dhafra project follows on the heels of the emirate’s first utility-scale solar array, the 1.2GW Abu Dhabi Noor, which supplies its power for $24.20/MWh — which had been a world-record low when the contract was awarded in 2017 to a joint venture between JinkoSolar and Japan's Marubeni.
Jasim Husain Thabet, CEO at TAQA, which along with its partners beat-off challenges from major global rivals to win the bidding, said: “The Al Dhafra Solar PV plant is a benchmark project for our nation and the global energy sector.
“The project’s low tariff and utilisation of best-in-class technology further demonstrate the feasibility of utility-scale renewable energy projects that are accelerating our nation’s progress on meeting the ambitious energy objectives outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050.”