The Al Dhafra solar project is a 2GW PV solar power generation facility being developed in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Image courtesy of Masdar.
A consortium of TAQA, Masdar, EDF and Jinko Power was awarded the contract for the AlDhafra solar project. Image courtesy of Emirates Water and Electricity Company.
The Al Dhafra solar project is expected to commence operations in 2022.

The Al Dhafra solar photovoltaic (PV) power project is a 2GW independent power producer (IPP) project being developed in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Owned by Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower), the Al Dhafra facility will be one of the world’s biggest solar PV solar farms at a single site.

The solar project is being developed through public-private partnership (PPP) by a consortium comprising Abu Dhabi based public-owned major companies TAQA and Masdar that hold a combined stake of 60%, while the remaining 40% stake in the consortium is jointly held by France-based EDF Renewables and China’s Jinko Power Technology.

The construction works on the project are expected to be started after reaching the financial closure by the end of 2020.

Scheduled for commissioning by the end of 2022, the Al Dhafra solar power project is expected to offset approximately 2.4 million tonnes(Mt) of CO2 emissions while powering approximately 160,000 UAE households a year.

Location and site details 

The Al Dhafra PV solar farm will be developed on a 20km2-site in the Al Dhafra region, located approximately 35km away from Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Al-Dhafra solar farm make-up 

The Al Dhafra solar farm will comprise up to 3.2 million solar panels for a total installed capacity of  2GW.

The solar project will utilise crystalline, bifocal photovoltaic cells to capture sunlight from both ends for a higher generation of power.

The other components of the solar farm will include inverters, connection to the transmission network, and associated infrastructure facilities.

Power purchase agreement

EDF Renewables and JinkoPower entered into a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with EWEC for the Al Dhafra project in July 2020.

The agreed tariff for the Al Dhafra PV facility is claimed to be one of the world’s lowest for a solar energy project.

The electricity output of the project will be at AED4.97 fils/kWh ($1.35 cents/kWh) on a levelised electricity cost (LEC) basis which is approximately 44% lower than the Noor Abu Dhabi solar project, which was developed by Sweihan PV Power Company.

Contractors involved with the Al-Dhafra solar power project 

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) awarded the design, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance contract for the Al Dhafra solar power project to theTAQA- Masdar-EDF-Jinko Power consortium in July 2020. 

Al Dhafra solar power project background 

The 2GW PV project will be the biggest solar power facility in the UAE by surpassing the 1.2GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar power project that commenced operations in April 2019. 

EWECreceive 48 expressions of interest in July 2019 as part of a tendering process initiated for the Al Dhafra solar project in February 2019. Out of the 48 potential bidders, 24 bidders were qualified to participate in the bidding process.

It received bids from five consortia for financing, building and operating the solar farm in November 2019.

After conducting a detailed technical evaluation for the proposals, the TAQA-Masdar-EDF-Jinko Power consortium, which quoted the lowest tariff rate, was finally awarded the contract to finance, develop and operate the project in July 2020.

A shareholder agreement was also executed between EWEC and the consortium for the Al Dhafra solar power project in the same month.