World Environment Day saw record-low solar bids submitted for Dubai’s upcoming project which will allow the sun to power thousands of homes at night.
The lowest bid for the concentrated solar power (CSP) project came in at 9.45 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), nearly 40 per cent below the previous world-record low price for electricity generated from this technology. The three other bids ranged from 10.58 cents to 17.35 cents per kWh. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) announced the prices on Monday for the 200-megawatt fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park.
The utility will now review the bid submissions to determine the project winner, a process that usually takes a month.
The latest phase was announced last summer as the utility looks to not only diversify its energy mix to include more renewable sources, but also to use different technologies.
The 800MW third phase – utilising solar photovoltaic (PV) technology – was won by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar at a bid price of 2.99 cents per kWh. CSP remains a more expensive choice than PV, but it has its own advantage in the form of energy storage. This will mark the first time that Dubai will use a solar thermal technology that includes up to 12 hours of storage – which means that solar power can be pumped into the grid even with little to no sun shining.
The fourth phase is the first out of a planned total of 1,000MW using CSP tower technology, which has mirrors beaming light to a tower that creates steam to generate electricity.
The solar park will have a total capacity of 5GW by 2030, in line with Dubai’s clean energy strategy of generating 75 per cent of electricity from clean energy by 2050.
Currently the solar park is generating 213MW of PV power, with another 800MW under construction.
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