There can be little doubt that the UAE currently represents the epicentre of the Middle East solar industry. This solar nexus has arisen through the UAE providing a location for the increasingly diverse companies playing a part in solar power’s accelerating regional development.
While the country has long been the home of headline grabbing projects and regional firsts, the last 18 months have seen two key announcements catalyse the fledgling solar power industry and could well propel it into being a pillar of a future green economy. Both announcements came from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in the first quarter of 2015, taking in utility-scale and distributed generation.
First came DEWA’s record-breaking deal for the 200 megawatts (260MWp) phase II Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park solar plant, signed with a consortium lead by Saudi-based ACWA Power, securing the authority a global record low 5.84 cents/kWh for a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) starting in 2017. Next the authority announced its Shams Dubai initiative, finally allowing private sector actors to generate their own power through rooftop solar, while also connecting to the Dubai grid through a net metering scheme.
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