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First Solar kicks off Dubai’s 1-gigawatt solar park

The starting phase of the planned 1-gigawatt Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai is underway with an initial 13-megawatt project to be begun by American thin-film solar company First Solar, Inc.

The ambitious proposal is a 12 billion dirham ($3.261 billion) project that was launched early this year as part of Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. The project will use both photovoltaic and solar thermal technology.

Dubai intends to diversify its energy sources so that 1 percent of its power will be generated from renewables by 2020, to be raised to 5 percent by 2030.

The 13-MW plant to be built by First Solar is the first phase of the park which will be managed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

Under the terms of their contract with DEWA, First Solar will provide engineering, procurement and construction services, as well as its thin-film PV modules.

Total project cost is estimated at 124 million dirhams, which will also include a 33-kilovolt substation and connection work to DEWA’s grid.

The 13-MW power plant is expected to be built October 2013. It will generate more than 22 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year or enough to meet the average annual electricity needs of more than 500 local households, and displace more than 14,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

“The PV plant installation is a key step in the implementation of the energy diversification strategy adopted by the Supreme Council of Energy, in which solar energy is set to become part of Dubai’s energy portfolio. The strategy is based on Dubai’s growing energy requirements and aims to maintain security of supply in the Emirate of Dubai,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, DEWA’s chief executive. – EcoSeed staff

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