Providing a progress report, Masdar City’s 10 megawatt plant is already a net exporter of energy, saving 24,000 tons of CO2 emissions, an equivalent of taking 3,300 cars off Abu Dhabi’s roads. This month was its 2 year anniversary.
The photovoltaic (PV) plant is based in Masdar City, about an hour from Abu Dhabi, and according to press material, it has met all performance targets in the first two years of its operations, demonstrating that utility-scale PV plants in the region are viable, Masdar officials said.
It is one of five projects in the United Arab Emirates which is registered for carbon credits under the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism. This month it enters its third year of operation.
The plant cost 185 million dirham ($50m) to build, and it generates half its output from traditional crystalline silicon panels, and the other half half from thin-film panels.
The plant is made from 87,777 panels of thin film and crystalline silicon technologies, and is connected to the Abu Dhabi National Grid and in its lifespan has created approximately 36,000MWh of clean energy from the sun.
“The success of the 10MW PV plant is a good example of how Masdar integrates research, development and innovation with investment, sustainable production, and deployment,” says Frank Wouters director of Masdar Power, one of the five integrated units of Masdar.
Like a pilot run
“The utility-scale PV plant has also enabled our engineers to gain insights into ways different PV technologies respond to the region’s climactic conditions. The expertise and knowledge gained will serve as a valuable reference point for other utility-scale PV projects in the region.”
The connection of the 10MW solar power plant to Abu Dhabi’s electrical grid was a joint effort by Masdar, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company and the Emirate’s regulatory body, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau.
Masdar Power is currently constructing the 100MW Shams One, one of the largest concentrated solar power plants of its kind in the world and the largest in the Middle East. Located at Madinat Zayed, 120km southwest of Abu Dhabi city, the project, is on schedule for completion towards the end of 2012.
Masdar Power’s other projects include the 1GW London Array, the largest offshore wind farm in the world, an onshore wind farm project of up to 30 MW on Sir Bani Yas Island, 250km southwest of Abu Dhabi city, the Mahe onshore wind farm in Seychelles, and Masdar PV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Masdar that produces at its plant in Germany amorphous silicon thin film photovoltaic modules eight times larger and more powerful than the industry standard.