The first phase of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park,engineered and constructed by First Solar, Inc. in Dubai, has been recognized as the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) Power Project of the Year at the prestigious Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) Quality Awards for Projects. Additionally, the landmark 13 megawatt (MWDC)photovoltaic (PV) power plant was also recognized as the United Arab Emirates’ Power Project of the Year by MEED.
First Solar – selected by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to provide engineering, procurement and construction services, as well as its advanced thin-film modules -successfully connected the plant to the emirate’s electricity grid 195 daysafter breaking ground in March 2013. The project, the company’s first utility-scale plant in the Middle East and the largest operating solar PV facility in the region, had a workforce of 1,280 personnel at its peak and requiredmore than 1.4 million man-hours to complete, all of which were accident-free.
“We received a record number of entrants this year, and expected stiffer competition from completed projects across the GCC. This is a clear affirmation that the projects industry throughout the region has regained its robustness, completing projects at a much faster pace following the slowdown in recent years.” said Edmund O’ Sullivan, Chairman, MEED. “We congratulate the winners for delivering their projects to the highest quality standards and contributing to the socio-economic development of the region.”
Powered by 152,880 First Solar FS Series 3 Black PV modules, the plant generates approximately 24 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The electricity generated by the power plant will, on average, displace approximately 15,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing about 2,000 cars from the road every year.
“This award, a first for the region’s renewable energy industry, reaffirms the fact that the projectis a game-changer and has set the benchmark for the development of reliable, solar energy in the Middle East,” said Ahmed S. Nada, First Solar’s Vice President for the Middle East. “First Solar is extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to play such a significant role in delivering the plant, which now forms one of the cornerstone of the UAE’s solar energy ambitions.”
The plant,designed to operate for over 25 years,was completed on schedule and First Solar succeeded in spending as much as 50 percent of the facility’s cost in the UAE.With components, such as racks, transformers, cables and switchgears, sourced from local suppliers, the project demonstrated how the development of solar energy can have a tangible impact on the local economy.
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