Shanghai Electric’s 700 MW solar thermal and 250 MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Dubai reached grid-connected electricity generation on November 29 (Dubai Time), marking a critical turning point in the company’s journey into the renewable energy industry. For the first time, the facility is offering top-notch technical parameters and dependable operation of both the primary and auxiliary equipment to the nearby towns. This energy is solar thermal energy that is environmentally beneficial.
The fourth phase of the solar thermal and PV power plant built by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park is the project, for which Shanghai Electric Group is the contractor. The facility’s grid connection signifies the accomplishment of a significant objective of Shanghai Electric’s globalization plan. The project gets over the drawback of typical PV power stations not being able to produce electricity at night by utilizing solar thermal power generation technology and being built on the top tower in the globe. To make the most of the available space, the 250 MW PV modules are scattered among underused spaces, while the 700 MW solar thermal facility is made up of three 200 MW trough units and a 100 MW tower unit. With an area of 44 square kilometers (about 17 square miles), or little over 6,000 normal soccer fields or 100 Tiananmen Squares, it is the world’s largest solo solar PV plant. Approximately 560,000 tonnes of molten salt and 70,000 heliostats, each measuring about 25 square meters, are used in the project.
Approximately 40 million cubic meters of earthwork were needed to level the site in the desert, which is the same volume as 41 “Water Cubes,” the well-known aquatics facility at the Beijing Olympic Green, or the sand and gravel needed to build two of the man-made islands supporting the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The facility is the tallest tower solar thermal plant in the world, rising to a height of 262 meters. Additionally, with an opening distance of 8.2 meters, it offers the biggest slot-opening technology that is currently in use in commerce.
The facility’s operation replaces the annual burning of 2 million tonnes of regular coal. Because of its installed capacity, financial commitment, and molten salt reserve heat, it is the largest solar thermal project in the world.
The project encountered several difficulties during construction, including rising costs across the board (of which costs for raw materials witnessed the steepest increases), delays in shipping, supply chain difficulties for the fabrication of equipment, and a severe staffing shortage. Its location in the middle of the desert, where daytime temperatures can soar to close to 50°C (122°F), combined with the impact of the pandemic, among other factors, led to the project encountering several difficulties.
The project department overcomes several technical challenges to reach this milestone by coming up with innovative solutions and being diligent in their planning.
Once all units are operational, the energy stored in the trough units and the tower unit may provide electricity continuously for a maximum of 13.5 hours at night and 15 hours during bad weather. When the project is finished, Dubai will be much closer to attaining its 2050 Clean Energy objective of providing clean energy to 320,000 local households.