Oil-rich Abu Dhabi on Sunday officially opened the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, which cost $600 million to build and will provide electricity to 20,000 homes.
The 100-megawatt Shams 1 is “the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant in operation” said Sultan al-Jaber, the head of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, which oversees the emirate’s plan to generate seven percent of its energy needs by 2020 from renewable sources.
“Today, Shams 1 is the largest CSP plant in all terms,” said Santiago Seage, chief executive officer of Abengoa Solar, one of the partners in the project.
Several solar plants around the world use photovoltaic technology to harness solar power.
Masdar now produces 10 percent of the world’s concentrated solar power, he said during the official inauguration.
The solar park features long lines of parabolic mirrors spread over an area equivalent to 285 football pitches in the desert of the Western Region, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi.
Masdar owns 60 percent of the project, while France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa Solar own 20 percent each.
Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the federation of the United Arab Emirates.