The United Arab Emirates has opened the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world. The 100-megawatt Shams 1 plant took three years to build through the combined efforts of UAE’s Masdar, France’s Total, and Spain’s Abengoa, with a total cost of $600 million. CleanTechnica’s Zachary Shahan recently had the opportunity to visit the plant and report his findings.
“The region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Masdar Chief Executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber in a statement. Shams 1 is among the largest concentrating solar plants in the world, and the largest one by far in the UAE, a region that relies heavily on fossil fuels.
Shams 1 capacity is 10 times larger than the second largest plant in the UAE, providing enough energy for 20,000 homes and displacing as much as 175,000 tons of CO2 every year. It covers the length of about 285 football fields, an enormous stretch of land.
Right now, Masdar’s energy portfolio takes up about 68% of the Gulf’s renewable energy capacity, a number that is sure to get even bigger if the company continues to execute such significant projects.