Shams 1, the largest solar power project of its kind on the planet, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. It is located in Abu Dhabi and will be officially inaugurated in early 2013.
â€œShams 1 is the largest concentrated solar power project in the world,â€ said Yousuf Al Ali, the general manager of Shams Power Company.â€ Developing a project of this scale is a significant achievement for Abu Dhabi, Masdar, and its partners, Total and Abengoa.â€
The project got underway in late 2010 with the goal of generating enough power for 20,000 homes. Once completed, it will be one of the largest concentrated solar power plants in the world, covering an area of 2.5 square kilometers with a 100 megawatt capacity. It will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors.
When explaining how Shams 1 is different than other projects, Al Ali mentioned that the CSP technology and parabola shapes mean the solar thermal electricity is â€œgenerated by focusing sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, reflects to heat a coolant which then generates high-pressure steam to drive a steam turbine.â€ He says this process efficiently creates clean, reliable energy.
The project is part of Abu Dhabiâ€™s goal of reaching 7% renewable energy by the 2020. If it proves to be a success as expected, it could serve as inspiration for other countries in the region to invest in similar projects.
Image courtesy of Masdar