The world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant has gone online in the United Arab Emirates yesterday. ‘Shams 1‘ was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, and is owned by the giants in the industry – Masdar, Abengoa Solar and Total.
Located in the richest in oil reserves Middle East, the power plant covers an area of nearly 1 square mile. The construction took three years and cost almost $600 million.
The electricity generated would be sufficient to power more than 20,000 households and it is estimated that it could displace around 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The opening of the solar power plant is expected to help the country meet their 2020 target of producing 7% of their energy from renewable sources. According to one of the key investors, Shams Power Company, concentrated solar power systems are fast to build, they are cheap and they can be installed in many other areas in the country.
The CEO of Masdar, Ahmed Al Jaber, proudly states that the solar power plant marks the beginning of a new trend in energy production in the region. Considering that the demand for energy is constantly increasing, switching from oil to solar is essential.
Al Jaber also adds that the Middle East is making further investments in the renewable energy industry, with Shams 1 only setting the initial example.
Mila is a researcher and scientist with a great passion for soils, rocks, plants, water and all environment-related aspects of our surroundings. For the past 10 years, during the course of her educational and professional development, she travelled all over Europe, Africa and Asia, driven by her passion for the environment and urge to seek challenges.
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I am pretty familiar with this project. I am enthusiastic about the future of CSP technology. This project is a showcase of the versatility of CSP design. Located in the desert, water was a big concern, so the project was designed with an air-cooling system. I applaud Masdar, Total, and Abengoa Solar for their ingenuity and forward thinking. Other governments and companies should take notice of this accomplishment.