Masdar City’s solar power plant is net exporter of energy to UAE

The largest solar energy photovoltaic (PV) plant in the MENA region located in Masdar City has hit all performance targets in the first two years of its operations, demonstrating that utility-scale PV plants in the region are viable, Masdar said today.

The 10 MW PV solar power plant, which is one of five projects in the UAE registered for carbon credits under the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), entered its third year of operations this month. Since operations began, the plant has saved 24,000 tons in CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 3,300 cars off Abu Dhabi’s roads.

The 10 MW solar power plant, consisting of 87,777 panels of thin film and crystalline silicon technologies, and connected to the Abu Dhabi National Grid, has so far generated approximately 36,000MWh of clean energy. The plant is a net exporter of energy to the grid after it meets the entire energy needs of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (M.I.S.T.) in Masdar City.

"The success of the 10 MW PV solar energy plant is a good example of how Masdar integrates research, development and innovation with investment, sustainable production, and deployment," said Frank Wouters, Director, Masdar Power, one of the five integrated units of Masdar. "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," he added.

The connection of the 10 MW solar power plant to Abu Dhabi’s electrical grid was a joint effort by Masdar, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and the Emirate’s regulatory body, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau. ADDC, Abu Dhabi’s main grid holder is responsible for operating and developing the distribution networks.

Masdar Power is currently constructing the 100 MW 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 concentrated solar energy project, is on schedule for completion towards the end of 2012.

Masdar Power’s other projects include the 1 GW London Array wind energy, 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.