Dubai stares at the sun: How the Emirate is becoming a global leader in solar power
Thirty miles south of the city of Dubai, lies the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park (MBR Solar Park), where the Emirate is set to break another record once again by launching its new phase.
MBR is the largest solar park in the world consisting of hundreds of arrays of solar panels spreading across miles of the Emirati land. MBR Solar Park, which is currently on its third phase, began with a 13-megawatt first phase completed in 2013, followed by a 200MW photovoltaic second phase completed in 2017. 2016 was a momentous year for the Park since it achieved the lowest prices for solar power electricity in the world and it is now set to make an even greater impact.
According to its Clean Energy Strategy 2050, the Emirate will strive to become a world leader in renewable energy and make Dubai the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. MBR will play an important role in that aspiration. It’s breaking world records for a single site based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model with auctions driving down costs.
With plans to become a global leader in renewable energy, Dubai has rolled out an extensive energy plan, called the Clean Energy Strategy 2050. MBR solar park will play a crucial role in implementing the strategy since the launch of the first stage of Phase 3 is bringing 200MW of the 800MW photovoltaic third phase into service.
Remaining stages of Phase 3 will reach completion in 2020 with the addition of an advanced solar tracking system that follows the sun to optimise efficiency levels. The 800MW Phase 3 array will include 800,000 self-cleaning solar cells of high performance featuring a robotic cleaning dry method to reduce water application to just twice a year.
Dubai’s energy goals to minimise its carbon footprint are supported by a consortium of Masdar, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, and the French company EDF Group which are building Phase 3 of the MRB Solar Park.
Will Dubai become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world? The Emirate will now have to assess how to attain these aspirations with additional measures that focus on sustainability. The sun is definitely the Emirate’s strongest power after the oil and the government is determined to capitalise on that advantage.
MBR is the perfect foundation to Dubai’s clean energy future since it is the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) project, where plans for solar to make up 25% of the Emirate’s energy mix by 2030, will be implemented.
Traditionally known for the superlatives, the largest and the tallest, Dubai’s bid on solar power, is it’s more humble yet in terms of size but not of importance. Destined to set an example for future cities, amazing things are happening under the hot Emirati sun.
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