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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

World’s largest single-site solar power plant inaugurated


Masdar officials at the Al Dhafra solar project Photo: Masdar
The United Arab Emirates ranks second globally in terms of per capita solar energy consumption, according to the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy

Photo: Masdar

The 2 GW Al Dhafra solar photovoltaic (PV) project, located 35 km outside Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is claimed to be the world’s largest single-site solar facility in the world. It has been commissioned by Masdar and partners Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), EDF Renewables and JinkoPower, together with Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC).

Spanning more than 20 km2 of desert, Al Dhafra comprises almost 4 million bi-facial solar panels, ensuring sunlight is captured on both sides of the panels to maximize yield. The plant will power some 200,000 homes and eliminate over 2.3mn t/y of carbon emissions.  


TAQA owns 40% of Al Dhafra, with Masdar, EDF Renewables and Jinko Power each holding 20% stakes. The plant is to supply power to EWEC under a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed in 2020 and will raise Abu Dhabi’s solar power production capacity to 3.2 GW.


Masdar switched on the UAE’s first solar project, with a capacity of 10 MW, in 2009. Today, the country ranks second globally in terms of per capita solar energy consumption, according to the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy.  


Commenting on Al Dhafra’s inauguration, HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, said: ‘This world-leading solar project demonstrates remarkable progress in solar power efficiency, innovation and cost competitiveness, setting a new record-low tariff [of AED 4.85 fils/kWh ($1.32/kWh) at financial close].’


He continued: ‘With just days to go before the start of COP28, I will be asking the world to unite and deliver the energy transition by tripling renewables capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. Al Dhafra is an example of the scale of the ambition needed around the world.’


According to Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, Abu Dhabi is now ‘home to four of the largest solar power plants in the world’. He also reports that an additional 1 GW of new solar power energy projects are planned to be commissioned in Abu Dhabi every year for the next 10 years as part of a strategic plan to ‘rapidly accelerate the decarbonisation of energy production, ensuring the UAE is a global leader in solar power and advancing the nation’s economic development and diversification towards its net zero goal’.