Abu Dhabi seeks interest in 1.5GW Ajban PV solar IPP

12 May 2022
Abu Dhabi seeks interest in 1.5GW Ajban PV solar IPP

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) has invited developers to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for a planned 1.5GW photovoltaic (PV) solar project which will be developed in the Ajban region of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) has invited developers to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for a planned 1.5GW photovoltaic (PV) solar project which will be developed in the Ajban region of Abu Dhabi.

The 1.5GW Ajban PV project will be developed under an independent power producer (IPP) model and will be Abu Dhabi’s third utility-scale solar plant and will generate enough electricity for about 160,000 homes across the UAE. The plant will reduce Abu Dhabi’s carbon emissions by more than 2.4 million tonnes a year.

The successful developer in the tendering process will hold a 40 per cent stake in the special purpose vehicle established to develop and operate the plant.

“With Al Ajban Solar PV, which will be similar in size and capacity output to Al-Dhafra Solar PV, Abu Dhabi and the UAE will have the three largest, world-leading solar power plants, increasing the diversification of our energy production portfolio and significantly advancing decarbonisation of the energy sector,” Othman Al-Ali, CEO, Ewec, said following the issuance of the EOI.

“With Al Dhafra PV, we had one of the most competitive tariffs in the world [4.97 fils per kilowatt hour, or 1.35 US cents/kWh] and we are hopeful we will repeat some of the tariffs,” Andy Biffen, Ewec's asset development executive director, told The National on the sidelines of the World Utilities Congress (WUC) in Abu Dhabi on 10 May.

The Al-Dhafra PV IPP, currently under development, is being developed by a consortium of France’s EDF and China’s Jinko Power. The consortium was awarded the contract to develop the plant in July 2020.

The consortium subsequently awarded the EPC contract to China’s CMEC in a deal estimated to be worth up to $1bn.

The Al-Dhafra PV IPP project, which had received a record tariff of $cents1.35/kWh, reached financial close in December 2020. Abu Dhabi utility Taqa and UAE clean energy firm Masdar will own 60 per cent of the project, with the EDF/Jinko Power consortium holding the remaining 40 per cent.

The Al-Dhafra IPP will be Abu Dhabi’s second major PV solar scheme. In February 2017, the emirate awarded a contract to a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and China’s Jinko Solar to develop a 1,177MW PV solar IPP at Sweihan, the world’s largest single-site solar project. The Sweihan IPP was fully commissioned in June 2019. The PV solar panels for the project were manufactured by Jinko Solar.

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