Shanghai Electric Group signed an engineering procurement construction contract on Friday to build the world’s largest concentrated solar power project in Dubai, marking the State-owned company’s ambition to grow into a world leading brand.

The 700 megawatt CSP project is the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Upon completion, it will be the only CSP project to supply power 24 hours a day in the world.

The project is scheduled to come online in 2020 when the World Expo will be held in Dubai. It is expected to contribute up to 7 percent of the city’s total power output by 2020 and 75 percent in 2050.

A consortium led by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Saudi Arabia water and power projects developer ACWA Power and China’s government-backed Silk Road Fund has invested about $3.86 billion in the CSP project.

Shanghai Electric will be responsible for the construction and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACWA Power will be in charge of the operation of the project.

The project will offer power at 7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour upon completion. According to Mohammad A. Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, it will be the first time in the world that the cost of solar power will equal conventional power such as gas.

Zheng Jianhua, chairman of the Shanghai Electric Group, said the group has now built more than 70 projects in over 20 countries and regions in the world. It is hard to enter the Middle East market where construction requirements are extremely high.

«The success of the project in Dubai will pave the way for us to enter the markets in Europe and the United States,» he said.

«The CSP project in Dubai also reflects Chinese companies’ influence and competitiveness in the global market. With this, we will aim to build Shanghai Electric into a renowned Chinese brand all over the world,» he added.

Zheng also said that the Dubai CSP project showed huge progress in the group’s business operation and equipment manufacturing against the bigger backdrop of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

CSP systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electricity is generated with the light converted to heat.

According to Beijing-based industry information provider CSP Plaza, the total installed capacity of CSP generators worldwide went up 2.3 percent year-on-year to reach 5,133 mW in 2017. Spain accounted for nearly half of the world’s CSP installed capacity, the largest of all, followed by the US.

The end of March witnessed the grand opening ceremony of Dubai 700MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the biggest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world. The project is supposed to provide clean power to Dubai EXPO in 2020 and fully completed by 2022.

As CSP Focus reported earlier, the consortium of ACWA Power and Shanghai Electric won the bid at the lowest price of USD 7.3 cents/kWh. The project consists of one 100MW molten salt tower plant and three 200MW thermal oil parabolic trough plants. Shanghai Electric, also as the project EPC contractor, shared their participation in the Dubai 700MW CSP plant during the past CSP Focus China 2018 event during Mar.22-23 in Beijing.

Dubai Solar Park Phase 4 CSP Plant Layout (1CT+3PT)

As Mr. Wang Deyuan, Assistant General Manager from Energy Department of Shanghai Electric Power Plant Group explains, the height of the Tower plant is designed to be 260 meters, which will be the highest CSP tower in the world. The single plant capacity of both the Tower and Parabolic plants will also be the world top. The combination of CT and PT CSP technologies could contribute to realizing the low cost.

Free report: Cost Control & Supply Chain Optimization for Dubai 700MW CSP Project by Shanghai Electric

Timeline of Shanghai Electric Participating DEWA CSP Plant

Looking back to the process of participating the DEWA CSP project, Shanghai Electric was able to make every step as expected.  As the above picture shows, the tendering documents were released on January 15th, 2017 and bidding open on June 5th, when the basic proposal was 2*100MW Tower CSP project, and the consortium of ACWA Power and Shanghai Electric offered the price of USD 9.45 cents/kWh. As a result, the consortium won the bid on the proposal of 700MW(1*100MW CT+3*200MW PT) on September 16th.

The price of USD 7.3 cents/kWh could event compete with ISCC in MENA region. How such a low price could be reached? The quite big scale could help realize size economic effect, and the financing work is progressed quite smoothly thanks to the well-preparation of the consortium and the local good financing environment.

How to control the cost? The work should be lasted throughout the whole life cycle including development, execution, operation and maintenance. The purchasing of plant equipment and materials is now started, and Shanghai Electric, as the EPC, would like to establish long-term cooperation with both China and global vendors of technology, equipment, material and consultancy through platforms like CSP Focus.

To get the most updated progress of the Dubai 700MW CSP project and talk to the main participators, you are welcome to join the upcoming CSP Focus MENA 2018 event in Marrakech, Morocco during June 27-28, which will be the can’t missing gathering for CSP industry players watching Middle East & North Africa region.