Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, and apparently, it wants to stack up on everything great. The government of Dubai just approved a 700 MW extension to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, and the facility will have the capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030 with a 260 meter (853 foot) solar tower in the middle, making it the world’s largest single-site solar facility.
About 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the city of Dubai, the construction of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park began in 2012. The plans call for an extension to 5,000 MW by 2030. By then, the park will be covering 214-square kilometers (83 square miles), bringing the city’s carbon emissions down by 6.5-million tons every year.
World’s tallest solar tower with 260 meters height will stand in the middle of the 700 MW extension. The project has been awarded to a consortium of Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Shanghai Electric. The expansion will begin in 2020 to make the site World’s largest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project. Such facilities generate solar power with lenses and reflectors that heat fluids and produce steam to drive turbines.
The CSP turbines have an advantage over the typical photovoltaic solar plants. They are more flexible and allow to store the energy as heat and dispatch it when required. However, the energy produced is much more expensive than photovoltaic solar plants.
Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, the Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said,
“Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world.”
It will be over a decade before the project is complete. We’d have to wait and see what the future holds for renewable energies in a city like Dubai.