The Shams 1 project has three main partners – the UAE sustainable technology firm Masdar, the Spanish concentrated solar power company Abengoa Solar, and the French-energy giant Total.
The largest solar array in the Middle East will be inaugurated today in a remote corner of Abu Dhabi as the UAE takes a major step towards a renewable energy future.
Today’s opening of the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant will mark the culmination of the largest renewable energy project in the Middle East.
Masdar, funded through the Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm Mubadala, has a controlling 60 per cent stake in the venture, with 20 per cent each owned by Abengoa and Total.
Eighty per cent of the Dh2.2billion of funding has come from 10 banks, including five European banks, three Japanese banks and National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Union National Bank locally.
"It is a flagship project by itself, but also a reference point for more projects within this region," said Bader Al Lamki, director of Masdar’s clean energy unit.
"There has been increased attention to renewables since we embarked on the project. It is a true demonstration of partnership, in the sense that we have implemented this on the ground with Total and Abengoa."
According to Yousif Al Ali, general manager of Shams Power Company, Masdar, a government entity, is mandated to "develop the renewable energy sector in Abu Dhabi".
The company, he said, is "involved in the whole value chain of the sector".
Shams Power Company was set up as a special purpose vehicle to deliver the project. "Masdar also have an investment arm where we invest in companies who have promising technologies, and we ourselves develop technology," he added.
Through the Masdar Institute, the company aims to continue developing local expertise in its various degree programmes.
The presence of two major energy companies has been a huge boost to the project, Mr Al Ali says. "Total have a long history and track record in the region working as a partner of Abu Dhabi and the UAE," he said. "They have extensive experience with operation and maintenance.
"Then there is Abengoa