Dubai awarded the 900MW latest stage of its 5GW solar mega-project after receiving a bid of $16.95/MWh that’s among the lowest ever seen in the sector.

A consortium of Saudia Arabia’s ACWA Power and the Gulf Investment Corporation was named preferred bidder for the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park after a tender that attracted 60 initial applicants.

The 900MW fifth phase is due online in 2021, taking the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to 2.9GW. The full project is set to be completed by 2030 at a cost of $13.6bn.

The price marks another ultra-competitive solar bid below the $17/MWh level, following the one received by Portugal earlier this year at the equivalent of $16.39/MWh that's seen as the lowest yet globally.

Although comparison between winning auction prices is notoriously difficult, due to variables such as the inclusion of grid connection costs and any hidden subsidies for land, the Dubai bid underlines the growing competitiveness of wind and solar in global power markets. The lowest seen for wind so far is a $17.70 bid in Brazil.

Lazard analysis earlier this month said unsubsidised new wind and solar are now knocking on the door of competitiveness with existing coal and nuclear plants, which showed marginal costs of $26-41/MWh and $27-31/MWh respectively.