By the end of 2020, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is expected to be one of the biggest concentrated solar power facilities in the world. It's already been given an upgrade with plans to build a solar tower that's over 850 feet high and will increase capacity. By the end of 2030, the Dubai-based solar farm will have around five gigawatts of capacity.
Originally commissioned in late 2013, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and ACWA Power started work on the solar farm. Over the first two phases, there's been 213 megawatts of capacity installed. The second phase was completed ahead of time and activated last March. What also made the second phase unique was the winning bid of the 200-megawatt project was set at a low of 5.84 US cents per kilowatt-hour.
According to Clean Technica, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is currently spread out to 1.7 square miles and powers up to 50,000 homes. Back in April 2015, a third construction phase was announced for 800 megawatts. That was awarded for just 2.99 US center per kilowatt-hour and is expected to be completed by 2020.
With an expected capacity of five gigawatts installed by 2030, there's a lot more room left for the solar park to grow. It was announced this week that once the third phase is completed, construction on a new solar tower will commence. It will add 700 megawatts to what's expected to be a facility that has just over one gigawatt of power capacity.
“The UAE has succeeded in building a global green economy model based on the environmental sustainability and clean energy and supported by clear plans," Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of UAE, told Gulf News. "These plans will contribute to strengthening the foundations of such model and developing it according to the world’s finest standards so as to make the most of this field and invest in enhancing infrastructure, building capabilities and training competent national competencies.”
By adding the tower, the facility will be able to concentrate sunlight and use it to power turbines so energy can be generated at all times. While it's a slighly more expensive process than using standard photovoltaic solar panels, it provides a more stable source of electricity. When the tower is completed, this solar farm will feature the world's largest concentrated solar power.