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World's largest solar power plant opens in Abu Dhabi
100-megawatt plant will power thousands United Arab Emirates homes
It is hoped that it will also displace 175,000 tons of CO2 each year
Plant covers 2.5 sq/km of desert, equivalent to 285 football pitches
You might think that as one of the
world's top oil producing nations, the United Arab Emirates would have
little use for solar energy. But
that hasn't stopped the Middle East state from unveiling the largest
concentrated solar power plant in operation anywhere in the world. The 100-megawatt solar-thermal project in Abu Dhabi will power thousands of homes in the country and, it is hoped, displace approximately 175,000 tons of CO2 per year.
The world's largest: The Shams 1 concentrated
solar energy power plant in Abu Dhabi features more than 258,000 mirrors
mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors, covering an area
of 2.5 sq/km
Powerful: In addition, the solar project uses a booster to
heat steam as it enters the turbine to dramatically increase the
The $600million (£398million) project dubbed Shams 1 took three years to build.
the latest in parabolic trough technology, the plant features more than
258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors,
covering an area of 2.5 sq/km, or 285 football fields.
By concentrating heat from direct
sunlight onto oil-filled pipes, Shams 1 produces steam, which drives a
turbine to generate electricity.
addition, the solar project uses a booster to heat steam as it enters
the turbine to dramatically increase the cycle's efficiency.
project also includes a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces
water consumption - a critical advantage in the arid desert of western
In the sweltering heat of the Arabian sun, Shams 1 generates electricity to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.
because solar power is generated during peak demand the UAE is able to
reduce the need for 'peak shaving' generators, which are expensive and
idle most of the year.
Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, partnered with French energy
company Total and Spain's energy infrastructure company Abengoa to build
'The Middle East holds nearly half of the world's renewable energy potential,' said Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar.
abundance of solar energy is an opportunity to integrate sustainable,
clean sources of power that address energy security and climate change.
'The region needs more projects like Shams 1, and we look forward to pushing the boundaries of future energy.