Shanghai – Shanghai Electric Group signed an engineering procurement construction contract on Friday to build the world's largest concentrated solar power project in Dubai, marking the State-owned company's ambition to grow into a world leading brand.
The 700 megawatt CSP project is the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Upon completion, it will be the only CSP project to supply power 24 hours a day in the world.
The project is scheduled to come online in 2020 when the World Expo will be held in Dubai. It is expected to contribute up to 7 percent of the city's total power output by 2020 and 75 percent in 2050.
A consortium led by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Saudi Arabia water and power projects developer ACWA Power and China's government-backed Silk Road Fund has invested about $3.86 billion in the CSP project.
Shanghai Electric will be responsible for the construction and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACWA Power will be in charge of the operation of the project.
The project will offer power at 7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour upon completion. According to Mohammad A. Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, it will be the first time in the world that the cost of solar power will equal conventional power such as gas.
Zheng Jianhua, chairman of the Shanghai Electric Group, said the group has now built more than 70 projects in over 20 countries and regions in the world. It is hard to enter the Middle East market where construction requirements are extremely high.
"The success of the project in Dubai will pave the way for us to enter the markets in Europe and the United States," he said.
"The CSP project in Dubai also reflects Chinese companies' influence and competitiveness in the global market. With this, we will aim to build Shanghai Electric into a renowned Chinese brand all over the world," he added.
Zheng also said that the Dubai CSP project showed huge progress in the group's business operation and equipment manufacturing against the bigger backdrop of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
CSP systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electricity is generated with the light converted to heat.
According to Beijing-based industry information provider CSP Plaza, the total installed capacity of CSP generators worldwide went up 2.3 percent year-on-year to reach 5,133 mW in 2017. Spain accounted for nearly half of the world's CSP installed capacity, the largest of all, followed by the US.