- Shanghai Electric’s project is the world’s largest solar thermal project in terms of installed capacity, investment size and molten salt reserve heat.
- It is the largest autonomous solar photovoltaic project in the world, with an area of 44 square kilometers
Turned on November 29 (Dubai Time), the No. 1 Trough Unit installation of Shanghai Electric’s 700 MW solar thermal and 250 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Dubai has successfully achieved grid-connected electricity generation, marking an important milestone in the company’s entry into the renewable energy sector.
The project, for which Shanghai Electric Group is the contractor, is the fourth phase of the solar thermal and photovoltaic power plant developed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar park. Built on a tower and leveraging solar thermal energy generation technologies, the project overcomes the limitation that conventional photovoltaic power plants cannot generate electricity at night, serving as a strong demonstration of solar thermal capabilities at a time when Solar PV has comprehensively surpassed it.
The 250 MW PV modules are scattered in unused locations to maximize site use, while the 700 MW solar thermal facility consists of three 200 MW channel units and one 100 MW tower unit. It is the largest stand-alone solar PV project in the world, covering an area of 44 square kilometers (roughly 17 square miles), the equivalent of just over 6,000 standard football pitches. The project uses approximately 560,000 tons of molten salt and 70,000 heliostats each about 25 square meters. The earthmoving required for the leveling of the site in the desert amounted to about 40 million cubic meters. The facility, which rises to a height of 262 meters (about 860 feet), is the tallest solar thermal tower project in the world. It also offers the world’s largest commercially operated slot opening technology with an opening distance of 8.2 meters. The operation of the facility can replace the burning of 2 million tons of standard coal annually. .
Its location in the middle of the desert, where daytime temperatures can soar to 50 °C (122 °F), combined with the impact of the pandemic, among other factors, meant that the project encountered several difficulties during the construction, including the rise. overhead costs (of which raw material costs witnessed the sharpest increases), shipping delays, supply chain challenges for equipment manufacturing, and severe staff shortages. By adopting creative solutions and with meticulous advance preparation, the project department overcame several technical issues to reach this milestone.
The energy stored in the trough units and the tower unit, once all units are operational, can generate power continuously for up to 13.5 hours at night and 15 hours during bad periods time When the whole project is finished, it will bring Dubai significantly closer to achieving its Clean Energy 2050 goal of providing clean energy to 320,000 local families and reducing carbon emissions by 1.6 million tonnes per year.