Mott MacDonald’s role as lenders’ engineer on Shams 1, one of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in the world, has reached a key milestone with the announcement that it has achieved financial close.

The US$600 million deal is the largest solar project transaction in the world to date and combines financing from 10 regional and international lenders. The plant is located in Madinat Zayed, approximately 120km southwest of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The 100MW CSP plant is being developed, built and will be operated by the Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%) and Abengoa (20%). The first of its kind in the Middle East, Shams 1 is set to directly contribute towards Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving seven per cent renewable energy power generation capacity by 2020.

Shams 1 is the first CSP plant registered as a project under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism. The plant will displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees or removing 15,000 cars from Abu Dhabi’s roads.

Mott MacDonald’s role to date has included reviewing the project participants, site design and performance model as well as technology, environmental conditions and financial model. The consultancy will also be monitoring construction and operations at agreed stages.

Mott MacDonald’s project director David Harridge said, “We are delighted to be part of this project. The plant will contribute towards the diversification of the United Arab Emirates’ energy production mix and help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.”

The importance of the project is further highlighted by the fact that Shams 1 was recently awarded the Middle EastRenewables Deal of the Year 2010 by Project Finance Magazine.