EDF Renewables and Jinko Power HK, two of the world’s largest renewable energy developers, have just scored a big one — the financial closing of the 2 gigawatt (GW) Al Dhafra PV2 solar project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This is a record breaking solar project in a few regards. Masdar and TAQA Group are also project partners.
With the financing — $1 billion — construction can now start on the project. And while I recently wrote about a mind-blowing 30 GW hybrid renewable energy project in India, this Abu Dhabi project will actually be the world’s largest single-site solar power project once completed.
The financing partners are, of course, major names in the world of financing. “The approximately 1 billion USD transaction has been funded via project financing with BNP Paribas as bookrunner together with Bank of China, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, MUFG, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Standard Chartered, as mandated lead arrangers.” One clear point is something that is obvious today but wasn’t a handful of years ago — solar power has become extremely bankable.
Al Dhafra PV2, as the solar project is named, will be located in Al Dhafra. Aside from being the largest single-site solar project in the world, it will be the first truly large-scale solar power plant in the world to use bifacial solar PV modules, which means that the modules pull in light from both sides.
So, how big is the project? I’ll let the Jinko & EDF team tell you. “The plant spans over 20 square kilometres of desert climate area, with more than 4 million PV modules.
“Upon commissioning, targeted in 2022, this project will provide the equivalent electricity to power over 160,000 households.”
EDF Renewables and Jinko actually have a minority ownership of the project, which includes a whopping 30-year power purchase agreement that the four core partners signed on July 23, 2020. “As the project is under an independent power producer model (IPP), EDF Renewables and Jinko Power hold respectively 20% of the shares, the remaining 60% is owned by TAQA and Masdar.”
“The successful financial close of Al Dhafra PV 2 project is supported by the well-structured tender program and PPP scheme designed and implemented by the Government of Abu Dhabi and its regulatory authorities,” Charles Bai, President of Jinko Power International Business, noted. “Working closely with our partners and financing community, we are proud to achieve this critical milestone, following our success of internationally awarded financial close of Sweihan project. We look forward to continuing working closely with the stakeholders of this project to achieve commercial operation in 2022.”
“The Al Dhafra PV2 project highlights EDF full commitment to supporting the UAE National Climate Change Plan,” Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said. “The achievement of financial close with our partners and the investment community is a major milestone for the project. We are now fully mobilized to support the construction of the solar plant with the objective of reaching the commercial operation in 2022. This 2GW future solar power plant contributes to meet the EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double its worldwide renewable installed energy capacity from 28 to 50 GW nets between 2015 and 2030.”