The largest concentrated solar power plant in the oil giant, United Arab Emirates


The largest concentrated solar power plant, Shams 1, has been built in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Shams 1 is a 100 megawatt solar generation plant that covers 250 hectare of desert in Abu Dhabi and is to power 20,000 residences.

Concentrated solar power uses lens and mirrors to capture sun’s heat to produce power. This is different from photovoltaic solar which generates electricity from sunlight directly.

258,000 mirrors are used for Shams 1 to capture concentrated sunlight which will boil water, produce steam and turn a turbine to produce electricity.

Concentrated solar power produced by Shams 1 will help avoid about 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission. This is equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees or removing 15,000 cars from the roads.

Shams 1 was developed by Masdar, a state-owned renewable energy company, which partnered with Total Group, a French energy firm, and Abengoa Solar, a Spanish energy infrastructure company. Masdar produces 68% of renewable energy capacity in the Gulf and 10% of the concentrated solar power capacity installed worldwide.

With the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant, UAE is now the only OPEC nation that supplies both oil and solar energy to the international energy market.

UAE plans to turn Masdar City into a zero-waste, zero-carbon community by 2025. Masdar City will transport oil using transportation methods that will use electricity produced by renewable energy sources. Masdar City built the first photovoltaic power plant, a capacity of 10 megawatt, back in 2009.


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