World’s Brightest

By on Nov 12, 2019 in Energy, News

The world’s largest single-site solar power plant recently commenced operation. It outpaces the leading solar power farm by a hair’s width and leaves America’s largest in the dust.

Sweihan Power Plant vs. The World

Japan’s Marubeni Corp Sweihan photovoltaic power plant, located in the United Arab Emirates, took two years to complete. The site contains 3.2 million solar panels that produce 1,177 megawatts of energy.

For comparison, the largest solar power plant in the United States is Solar Star in California. It has 1.7 million solar panels that produce 579 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to power about 255,000 homes, reports Solstice, the leading solar power provider in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the largest of its time when completed in 2015.

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Solar Star is, in fact, not among the largest solar farms in the world. India and China dominate the sun-powered energy. Shakti Sthala, Pavagada, Karnataka of India produces a contested 2,000 megawatts. It is followed by Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park of India which generates 1,000 megawatts. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China generates 850 megawatts. Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu of India offers 648 megawatts of power to nearby communities.

Marubeni Corp, JinkoSolar Holding Co., and Abu Dhabi Power Corp. co-own the $870 million Sweihan solar farm. The project required eight international banks to secure funding.

The UAE Energy Plan 2050

The project, also called Noor Abu Dhabi, is part of the UAE’s Energy Plan 2050. Introduced in 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the energy plan is designed to produce renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources. The plan invests $163 billion in pursuit of a more sustainable and diverse energy supply including “44 percent clean energy, 38 percent gas, 12 percent clean coal and 6 percent nuclear,” per Commercial Property Executive.

To reach its goals, the plan will manifest in three phases. The Sweihan plan is part of phase one which focuses on sustainable energy generation and consumption. The second phase address sustainable transportation including commercial, private, and tourism sectors. Research, innovation, and development encompass the final phase which will be an ongoing endeavor for the nation.

Sweihan solar plant is currently serving the Emirates Water and Electricity Co. as part of a 25-year purchase agreement.