UAE-based clean energy company Masdar and its partners along with procurer Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) have inaugurated the 2GW Al Dhafra solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the UAE.

The commencement of operation at the solar PV plant has come ahead of the country hosting the UN climate change conference COP28.

Located nearly 35km from Abu Dhabi city, the single-site solar power plant is owned by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) with a stake of 40%.

Masdar, EDF Renewables and JinkoPower are other partners of the Al Dhafra solar project holding 20% interest each.

The Al Dhafra independent power project, which was built in a single phase, will generate enough electricity to power approximately 200,000 households.

Besides, the solar PV facility will eliminate 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Abu Dhabi Deputy Ruler Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “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.

“We are witnessing, day after day, project after project, that the UAE is at the global forefront of developing and adopting innovative clean energy solutions. We are achieving energy security, while also contributing to building a bright future for future generations to come.”

The Al Dhafra project is spread across more than 20km2 of desert. It utilises nearly four million solar panels that deploy bi-facial technology to ensure that sunlight is captured on both sides of the panels to maximise the yield.

The solar PV facility generated 4,500 jobs during the peak of the construction phase.

EWEC signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Al Dhafra solar PV project in 2020.

Masdar said that the new solar PV project will increase Abu Dhabi’s solar power production capacity to 3.2GW.