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28 October 2013

First Solar completes Dubai’s flagship 13MW solar power plant in under 30 weeks

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), has completed and handed over a 13MWDC photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The facility, the firm’s first utility-scale project in the Middle East, is the largest operating solar PV plant in the region.

Selected by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to provide engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services as well as its thin-film modules, First Solar connected the plant to the emirate’s electricity grid just 195 days after breaking ground in March. The project had a workforce of 1280 at its peak and required more than 1.4 million man-hours to complete.

Powered by 152,880 First Solar FS Series 3 Black PV modules, the plant will generate about 24 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Electricity generated by the power plant will, on average, displace about 15,000 metric tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to removing about 2000 cars from the road every year).

“This plant represents an important step in the implementation of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify Dubai’s energy mix, as envisioned by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy,” says His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy. “For the first time, we are harnessing the sun to power growth and prosperity in the Emirate,” he adds. “Through this flagship project, First Solar has been able to demonstrate many of the attributes, such as reliability, affordability, scalability and speed of deployment, that make solar power such an attractive proposition.”

The 13MW plant is the first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, named after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai. The park is expected to eventually cover 40 square kilometers and produce 1000MW of energy for the national grid using both PV and solar thermal technology.

“In addition to showcasing the effectiveness of our advanced thin-film modules in hot climates, it has established a benchmark for the development of solar energy projects in the region,” comments First Solar’s CEO Jim Hughes.

The plant covers an area (59 acres, or 238,764m2) that is sufficient to accommodate about 33 soccer pitches and is designed to operate for over 25 years. First Solar completed the plant on schedule and spent as much as 50% of the facility’s cost in the UAE, sourcing components such as racks, transformers, cables and switchgears from local suppliers.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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