Abu Dhabi and “Light”, the largest solar plant in the world is ready
10 August 2019

Named “Noor”, which in Arabic means light, is something that the new solar power plant just completed in Abu Dhabi will use in abundance to illuminate the homes of about 90 thousand people. Such is, in fact, the requirement that the 1,117-megawatt maximum power plant equipped with 3.2 million panels is able to meet. Noor will not only surpass Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will have 1,000 megawatts of power next year, but will become the world’s largest single-site facility. It is a single project on a single site, different from a solar park in which several projects use a shared infrastructure. It is this feature that has earned the Emirati city the world record, even if in other countries – for example in India or China – there are larger expanses of solar panels. Over 2,900 people worked on the construction site to complete the Noor construction on schedule.
Thanks to the mega solar park, which covers eight square kilometers and cost $870 million, the capital’s dependence on the use of natural gas for electricity generation will be considerably reduced with the consequent reduction of the carbon footprint of a million tons per year, the equivalent of 200,000 cars. UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Thani Al Zeyoudi said the project represents a “valuable addition” to the renewable energy sector.
The plant is located in Sweihan, about 100 kilometers from Abu Dhabi, and is a joint venture between the government company Abu Dhabi Power Corporation and a consortium between the Japanese Marubeni Corp and the Chinese Jinko Solar Holding. The three companies had won the auction announced by the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) in 2017. Emirates Water and Electricity Company also announced that the project broke the record for the most competitive tariff in the world which equates to around 24 cents per kilowatt hour. The tariff will remain for 25 years. “The completion of the project”, said Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi, president of Ewec “marks an important milestone in the UAE’s energy strategy, launched in 2017 to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% by 2050, while reducing the carbon footprint in energy generation by 70 percent”.
Although the UAE is still largely dependent on oil, major developments like this will have a positive impact on global emissions and demonstrate a willingness to move to a sustainable future through renewable energy. As the nations of the world become more aware of the problems fossil fuels can cause, they are increasingly turning to renewable energy. Even the United Arab Emirates (which is the world’s seventh largest oil producer and holds reserves among the largest in the world, around 98 billion barrels) remains and will remain in oil, however with the addition of this solar plant they have made a bold move towards a brighter and greener future.
As for diversifying the energy mix, Sharjah will build a 1.8-gigawatt combined cycle power plant. The Emirati company Hamriyah Independent Power Company has obtained the financing, which amounts to approximately one billion dollars. According to local media reports, once completed, the power plant will be the most efficient in the Middle East region. The project consists of the construction of three combined cycle plants, the first of which should be connected to the grid in 2021. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2023.