The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company says it has reached a successful financial close on the 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project, set to be built approximately 35 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city.
The 2GW Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producer (IPP) project has hit headlines several times this year, thanks in large part to the project’s ability to achieve a world record-low tariff for solar power of $US0.0135/kWh, or roughly $A0.02/kWh.
This bid was further improved down to $US0.0132/kWh ($A0.017/kWh) thanks to hedging and financing cost improvements, in addition to other unspecified optimisation efforts.
The low bid was first reported back in April and was confirmed by the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) in July, awarded to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Masdar, with partners EDF and JinkoPower.
“We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power,” said Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, speaking in July.
“We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs.
“Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE.”
Announced on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), along with its partners, confirmed successful financial close, ensuring the necessary financing to develop the project and assuring the project will now move forward.
Seven international banks will provide financing, and upon completion and commercial operations in 2022, TAQA will own 40% of the project, while Masdar, EDF Renewables, and JinkoPower will each own a 20% stake.
Set to deliver enough electricity for the equivalent of 160,000 homes across the United Arab Emirates generated from approximately 4 million of the latest in crystalline, bifacial solar technology, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year, equivalent to removing approximately 470,000 cars from the road.
“The financial closing of the world’s largest solar plant marks the beginning of an important chapter for this IPP project, for TAQA Group and for the UAE as we continue to deliver on our bold clean energy ambitions, while demonstrating the commercial and operational viability of utility-scale single-site solar projects,” said Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director at TAQA.
“Through this project and many others – such as TAQA’s Noor Abu Dhabi, currently the world’s largest operational solar power plant – we have established the company as a trusted integrated utilities partner that is leading the sector’s transformation in the UAE and beyond.
“We have an expanded portfolio of power and water assets that we will grow further through a disciplined approach, adding value for our shareholders and delivering a diverse supply of energy for our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate.”
TAQA can already lay claim to the world’s largest solar power plant thanks to its 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant, which has been operational since the middle of 2019. The 2GW Al Dhafra Solar PV project serves to further solidify Abu Dhabi, and the Middle East region as a whole, as home to some of the most ambitious and record-breaking sized solar projects in the world.