Ground was broken March 20 for a 700 megawatt (MW) concentrated solar power plant, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the United Arab Emirates.

The $3.8 billion project features a solar tower measuring 260 meters in height and will provide energy to more than 270,000 residences in Dubai. The CSP project will use two technologies: a 600 MW parabolic basin complex and a 100 MW solar tower. The solar tower will include a molten salt storage component, which will enable power to be generated for up to 15 hours without sunlight.

A CSP tower. Source: CC BY 2.0A CSP tower. Source: CC BY 2.0(Read "How Does Solar Energy Work? CSP Basics.")

The complex will cover an area of 43 square kilometers, about one-fourth the area of Washington, D.C. The project is being developed by ACWA Power, a developer, investor, and operator of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants in 10 countries including in the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Africa and South East Asia. It is investing $750 million in the project.

The project will help achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 75 percent of Dubai's total power output from clean sources by 2050.

Shanghai Electric is the EPC contractor.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the largest single-site solar parks in the world. It will have a generating capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030.

The 13 MW photovoltaic first phase became operational in 2013. The 200 MW photovoltaic second phase was launched in March 2017. The 800 MW photovoltaic third phase will be operational by 2020, and the first stage of the 700 MW CSP fourth phase will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2020.