Abu Dhabi has been assessing various site options for the Emirate’s third major solar independent power producer (IPP) scheme.

Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) is expected to invite firms to bid for the consultancy contract for the next solar photovoltaic (PV) IPP project in Abu Dhabi soon.

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The request for proposals (RFP) for the consultancy package on the scheme, commonly referred to as PV3, could be issued in February.

The first two major schemes are the 1.2GW solar PV IPP project at Sweihan, popularly referred to as Noor Abu Dhabi, and the planned 2GW Al-Dhafra solar IPP.

PV3 is expected to have a capacity of 1.5GW.

PV1 and PV2 status

Noor Abu Dhabi started commercial operation in June 2019. Ewec is still evaluating the bids the company received last year for the contract to develop the 2GW Al-Dhafra solar IPP project.

Last week, Ewec director of privatisation directorate Adel al-Saeedi said that they aim to sign the power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidder in the first quarter and reach financial closure in the second quarter of 2020. The scheme is expected to begin commercial operation by April 2022.

Ewec received five bids on 21 November 2019 for the 2GW Al-Dhafra scheme. The five teams are:

  • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia)
  • Engie (France)
  • Jinko Solar (China) / EDF (France)
  • Marubeni (Japan) / Total (France)
  • Softbank Energy (Japan) / Eni (Italy)

The successful developer will form a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) company in partnership with Ewec. The developer consortium will own up to 40% of the SPV.

The project will involve the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the solar plant under a 30-year PPA.

Last year, Ewec said that it also included an optional bid for the provision of battery storage, which has resulted in substantial market interest. Ewec has an operational 108MW battery capacity that can last up to six hours.

According to Ewec, the planned Al-Dhafra solar plant will cover an area of 20km² and provide electricity for up to 110,000 households.

The solar projects form part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE’s) target of 50% clean energy by 2050, of which 44% will come from renewable energy.

This article is published by MEED, the world’s leading source of business intelligence about the Middle East. MEED provides exclusive news, data and analysis on the Middle East every day. For access to MEED’s Middle East business intelligence, subscribe here.