Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

$13.6B Solar Plant Grows in Dubai Desert

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Comment | More

The $13.6 billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, named for the ruler of the emirate and located in Dubai’s desert, recently hit a milestone: Construction of the fourth phase has commenced, and the base of a concentrated solar power tower—slated to be the tallest in the world—is now complete.

The solar park, which will total 5,000 megawatts, will be able to power 1.3 million homes, cutting 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

Solar Park Project History

The first two phases of construction on the project, initially announced in 2012 and slated to be complete by 2030, are complete. The first phase, consisting of 13 megawatts and covering 280,000 square meters, became operational in October 2013, consisting of 153,000 photovoltaic cells, which are linked up to 13 transformers in inverter buildings.

The 200-megawatt second phase was inaugurated in March 2017, and was built through a partnership consisting of the Dubai Energy and Water Authority; ACWA Power, from Saudi Arabia; and TSK, from Spain. This portion of the solar park saw the installation of 2.3 million photovoltaic solar panels spanning an area of 4.5 square kilometers (roughly 1.73 square miles).

As for the 800-megawatt third phase, the DEWA announced in June 2016 that a consortium led by Masdar was selected to complete the work. The 200-megawatt first stage of the third phase was operational by May 2018. According to CNN, phase three is still under construction, and is slated for completion sometime next year.

Moving Forward

The base of the concentrated solar power tower broke ground in 2018. The structure, once complete, will use mirrors, known as heliostats, to focus sunlight toward the top of the tower, which will in turn, heat up molten salts. This heat will generate electricity by powering steam turbines.

Christos Markides, professor of clean energy technologies at Imperial College London, told CNN that CSPs store energy as heat, rather than energy. The appeal of this is that thermal energy storage is roughly 10 times cheaper than electrical energy storage. This also means that the 100-megawatt CSP tower can continue to generate energy, even at night. The tower, to top out at 260 meters tall (just over 850 feet), can store heat for up to 15 hours, and will be surrounded by 70,000 heliostats.

Phase four of the project will also see the addition of 850 megawatts through another kind of CSP, known as parabolic troughs, as well as photovoltaics. Work on the 900-megawatt fifth phase of the solar park will kick off in 2021, being gradually completed in stages. According to CNN, the first four phases, totaling a capacity of 1,963 megawatts, put the solar park high in the world’s rankings of largest capacity solar parks.

Though these kinds of endeavors hold promise, issues remain: namely dust settling on the panels, inhibiting power generation, and the impacts of rapidly fluctuating temperatures. To address the former, DEWA is currently looking into a robotic cleaning system that could clean the whole plant in a short time. 

Dubai is aiming to generate 25% of its energy from clean sources by 2030, bumping this number up to 75% by 2050. Other installations to help the park meet its 5,000-megawatt goal are still being planned.


Tagged categories: AF; Middle East; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Solar; Solar energy

Comment from Tony Rangus, (5/2/2019, 10:26 AM)

Wonder how big in square kilometers the project will be at completion? 13.6 billion dollars for 5000 megawatts of electricity but at a land cost and area of what? For 13.6 billion dollars, I wonder how many combines cycle gas fired power units one could build? I bet the overall footprint would be significantly smaller. That area of the Middle East has an abundance of natural gas.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (5/3/2019, 10:56 AM)

Tony, so far 213 MW of power is coming from 4.78 km2...if proportional, the 5,000 MW plant will have to cover about 112 km2.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office

DeFelsko Corporation

SAFE Systems, Inc.

Strategic Materials Inc.

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

Sauereisen, Inc.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us