The 185m dirham ($50m) solar farm generates half its output from traditional crystalline silicon panels, and half from thin-film panels and is one of the world’s most cost-efficient solar-power arrays.
The 10MW Solar Photovoltaic Farm, whose 87,777 polycrystalline and thin-film modules occupy a 22-hectare site at the outer boundary of Masdar City, makes it the largest grid-connected solar plant in the MENA region.
Inaugurated in May 2009, the farm provides clean energy to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology campus and Masdar’s temporary on-site offices, as well as some of the ongoing Masdar City construction activities. The energy is fed into the Abu Dhabi power grid. Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena Power Systems, a leading developer of solar projects in the region, constructed the plant.
No unsustainable materials such as bitumen or polystyrene were used for the concrete foundation. The array uses recycled materials and a low carbon concrete that uses a large amount of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS), a waste product of iron making.
The 10MW PV plant, which is one of five projects in the UAE registered for carbon credits under the United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), has entered its third year of operations. Since operations began, the plant has saved 24,000 tons in CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 3,300 cars off Abu Dhabi's roads.
The PV farm has enabled our engineers to gain insights into ways different PV technologies respond to the region's climactic conditions. The expertise and knowledge gained will serve as a valuable reference point for other utility-scale PV projects in the region.
The connection of the 10MW solar power plant to Abu Dhabi's electrical grid was a joint effort by Masdar, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and the Emirate's regulatory body, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau. ADDC, Abu Dhabi's main grid holder is responsible for operating and developing the distribution networks.