Large enough to accommodate 285 football fields, the site is now covered with a giant solar field – row upon row of tall metal frames with curved glass mirrors attached to them.
To form the height of each row, four curved mirrors are connected, forming a parabola shape. From there, it is relatively simple physics: the parabola shape means that all the sunlight hitting the mirrors is reflected on to a small glass tube above the mirrors. The sunlight, thus concentrated, heats up the collector tube, and starts a process essential to the production of electricity.
But arranging the mirrors so they do the job is far from simple, said the project manager, Laurent Longuet.
"You need to be accurate and you need to be accurate each time," he said, speaking at a media tour of the new facility on Wednesday.
The plant is 80 per cent complete, and testing of the equipment is expected to start soon. Once it begins running at the end of this year, it will be Abu Dhabi’s largest solar project to date.
Masdar, the capital’s clean energy company, is constructing the solar plant in collaboration with Abengoa Solar, a Spanish infrastructure and environment company, and the French oil company Total. The plant is part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, which aims reduce the UAE’s dependence on oil.