Dubai Plans to Award Solar Power Contract in First Quarter

  • Third phase of $3.3 billion solar park will have 800 megawatts
  • Project will probably be awarded to more than one company

Dubai’s government-owned utility will probably announce the winners in the first quarter to build the third phase of a $3.3 billion solar energy park.

The project to produce 800 megawatts of electricity from the sun will probably be awarded to more than one company, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive officer of Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, said in Dubai on Sunday. DEWA is still deciding whether to build the plant all at once or at different times to take advantage of lower costs, he said. In January, DEWA tripled its target for solar energy production to take advantage of lower building costs.

Energy companies in the Middle East are turning to solar power to take advantage of plentiful amounts of sun. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, has ample solar resources and open land and eventually “won’t need fossil fuels,” Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said in May.

DEWA in January awarded a contract to build a 200-megawatt plant to a group led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power International, in the second phase of the park. The first solar factory at the park started in October 2013, with a 13-megawatt photovoltaic plant that was the largest of its type in the Middle East and North Africa at the time. First Solar Inc., the biggest U.S. solar-panel manufacturer, built the facility, at a cost of 120 million to 130 million dirhams ($33 million to $35 million).

DEWA aims to have solar capacity of 1,000 megawatts by 2020 and 3,000 megawatts by 2030.

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