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UAE inaugurates world’s largest single-site solar power plant ahead of COP28

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The United Arab Emirates has inaugurated the world’s largest single-site solar power plant ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). The 2-gigawatt Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic Independent Power Project (IPP) is located 35 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city and will generate enough electricity to power almost 200,000 homes. The plant is expected to displace 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

The project was inaugurated by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and in the presence of Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.

“As the UAE prepares to host COP28, this pioneering project reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to raising its share of clean energy, reducing its carbon emissions, and supporting the global efforts on climate action,” said Sheikh Hazza.

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate,  Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar, emphasized the significance of Al Dhafra as a symbol of progress in solar power efficiency, innovation, and cost competitiveness.

The project was developed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and its partners Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), EDF Renewables and JinkoPower. It was procured by Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC). The plant uses almost 4 million solar panels which deploy innovative bi-facial technology, ensuring sunlight is captured on both sides of the panels to maximize yield.

The project broke records in terms of cost for utility-scale solar projects. Initially, the project led to one of the most competitive tariffs for solar power set at AED 4.97 fils/kWh (USD 1.35 cents/kWh), which upon financial close, was further improved to AED 4.85 fils/kWh (US$ 1.32 cents/kWh).

The inauguration of Al Dhafra Solar PV is a key step in the UAE’s transition to clean energy.As the countdown to COP28 continues, leaders reiterated their commitment to tripling renewables capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, with Al Dhafra serving as a model for global ambition in clean energy initiatives.

The project also aligns with the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 goal, reinforcing its leadership in solar energy production on a per capita basis. The project is also a testament to the UAE’s commitment to hosting a successful COP28. The country will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference from November 30th to December 12 this year.

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