UAE Opens Biggest Solar Power Station In The World

Posted by Mark

The Shams Power Company opened their Shams 1 concentrated solar power station this week in Abu Dhabi. The station generates 100 MW and can power 20,000 homes while reducing CO2 emissions by 175,000 tons per year. [Source]

Kuwait is currently in the process of building a solar power station as well and is expected to be completed by the end of this year (2013).

The project took about two years and $600 million to build. [Source]

Now this is what I find interesting. Their solar power station is costing $600 million to build while ours is costing just $16 million. So our power station is either going to be super tiny or they got ripped off pretty badly.

On a similar subject, here is a link to vintage photos of the Shuwaikh Power Station taken back in the 1950s. [Link]


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37 comments, add your own...


  1. 3azeez says:

    Read your words thoroughly. The UAE “opened their Shams 1 concentrated solar power station this week in Abu Dhabi.”

    However, Kuwait is “beginning to design the country’s first-ever solar energy station.”

    Hope that clears the $584 million difference.

    • Mark says:

      I think the $16 mil must include execution, I mean 2 years and 16 mil just for the design? Cuz if thats the case I’m working in the wrong field…

      • 3azeez says:

        According to your post, the design will be done by Kuwait’s Public Authority for Applied Sciences and Training (PAAST).

        Assistant professors at PAAST receive monthly salaries starting from 4,000 dinars. I believe they receive housing as well (even if they are Kuwaitis) in addition to other benefits. When they work during summer, they get double salary. They do not make a step without getting more money on their salary.

        This research is probably going to be interdisciplinary, so lets say about 25 people from PAAST. Their cost is aprox $8.5 million (4000 x 12 x 2 x 25 x 3.51161 ).

        Of course you will have international consultant… thats $3.5 millions, a local consultant, thats $2 million.

        That’s a total of $14 millions. Of course it will look too obvious that they’re distributing the money among themselves for doing very little research and actual work. So they have to look busy. So the remaining two million dollars will be dispensed as follows:

        They will form a technical committee to bring experts from outside PAAST. They will probably have members from KISR, Kuwait University, maybe EPA, and another Ministry or two. Industry sector might be invited to be involved in the committee. External experts would be invited to join as members or just guests. You’ll end up with at least 16 representatives (two from each organization) plus two or three experts, thats total of 19 individuals.

        Depending on the level of the representation, the pay per meeting will vary. Since this committee is not under the civil service commission, the pay can be really good. Of course the pay is justified as being incentive to have experts attend the committee’s meetings. And with this you just spend about half a million over the two years of the project.

        another half a million can be easily dispersed by holding events at five star hotels and inviting media and other international organizations interested in renewable energy.

        and the final million will be dispersed on PR.

        It took me only few minutes to come up with this calculation. It probably took them the same. Sadly, this is our reality.

  2. Hielda says:

    I know for a fact that Kuwait was the first to think and make both a full research/implementation plan with the help of KFAS.. yet the last to execute.. How typical!

    • Othman says:

      KFAS? I thought KISR was working on the research?

      • 3azeez says:

        she said help from KFAS. Help = money. KFAS funds research. KISR conduct the research.

        • aaa says:

          How much research does KISR actually do? Always thought we needed some sort of science research but you don’t hear about any of it.

          • Hielda says:

            They are currently working on raising awareness now… A few months more and you will start hearing some buzz… I HOPE! but at least they started to realize that people are not really aware of what they are doing along with KFAS! Stay tuned!

  3. ifas says:

    And Kuwait opens up another restaurant and million milk shakes :)

    @Hielda

    They think & talk to much and dont act at all

    • Hielda says:

      This what hurts even more!!! Until when? Is it the people? the quality of laborers? Is it the government? Miss the old pioneer Kuwait…

  4. ram bhat says:

    World’s largest photovoltaic power station is at Charanka Solar Park in Gujarat, India, producing 214 MW. By the end of 2014 it should produce up to 500 MW at the cost of $280 Million

    • 7th says:

      @ifas what is wrong with you

      • Ashraf says:

        BTW… i forgot to mention.. its $600 Million in 2 years…

        In India building a residential building take more than 2 years :P I’m sure the solar station was under construction for 10-15 years.

    • Ashraf says:

      This dude is definately from Pakistan :p

      @Ram.. Anything in the Asian subcontinent is gonna be cheaper than the Middle East.

      In India for instance, a good chunk of youngsters who complete their higher secondary school goes on to complete post graduation.

      you find MBA’s working for as low as 50 KD there.

      Which means they usually dont outsource their research work. its all done by Indians. the labor is dirt cheap.

      in my opinion $280 million is still a higher price considering its India. I’m sure more than half of it is gone to the pockets of corrupt politicians :P

      incase of Middle east, since the population is too less and the number of skilled professionals are way too less (no offence) compared to India, the salaries are high (Rich country, higher standard of living, scarce professionals etc etc).

      and most of the work is outsources to the west & they charge a bomb!!!

      Hence the price difference.

      • aaa says:

        Dunno why anyone would take offense at that, There are literally 1000 Indians for every Kuwaiti so of course you’ll see people working in every field. It’s sad about the pay though, if they don’t fix that all the skilled people are going to end up as scientists in the US.

        • TheWestBank3er says:

          wow, i didn’t know that ..

          so, yesterday 4k became Kuwaitis.. now there should be 4,000,000 Indians filling the airports..

  5. Hriday says:

    I’m the guy that put up the Shuwaikh pics. Pretty cool to bring it up again :)

    This world’s largest tag seems to be up to interpretation. Australia has one coming on this year that’s 154MW :

    http://www.abengoasolar.com/web/en/nuestras_plantas/plantas_en_construccion/estados_unidos/#seccion_2

    And near Barstow, the Mohave plant claims to be 280MW :

    http://www.abengoasolar.com/web/en/nuestras_plantas/plantas_en_construccion/estados_unidos/#seccion_2

    H.

  6. Ohyoumoron says:

    Now i wonder what prompted you to say that..world’s largest photovoltaic plant, 500 MW or that it was built for only 280 mils?

  7. TiminKuwait says:

    The station in UAE is Concentrated Solar Power which is mirrors that direct and concentrate sunlight into a liquid tank(usually oil) which heats up that liquid to very high temperatures. That oil is then circulated thru a heat exchanger which boils water to produce steam. Then the steam is directed to a steam turbine with a generator attached.

    The proposal for Kuwait is for a photovoltaic plant and I believe it will be a very small plant for research purposes. Photovoltaic cells directly convert sunlight into DC voltage and current. That then has to pass thru a series of inverters and filters to produce usable AC.

    If $16 million is all that will be paid, then it isn’t a very big system at all!!

    • TiminKuwait says:

      Another thing is that solar power, whether photovoltaic or CSP, takes up vastly more land than a traditional oil or gas fired plant of the same output. Also, for each MW of solar power, an additional MW of traditional rotational power is required for when the sun isn’t shining. Therefore the cost of solar is greatly mis-represented by not including the additional cost of building another traditional plant for backup.

  8. Kuwait says:

    I’m sure Kuwait’s $16 million plant is nothing but a few steel kettles of water kept in the desert at noon for natural heating.

  9. sarah says:

    Ajman: The UAE ranks highest among Gulf countries — as well as and above Britain and Iceland — in the World Happiness Report, it was revealed during the Quality of Life conference in Ajman on Tuesday.

    Out of 156 countries ranked, the UAE is 17 — the regional best — beating Saudi Arabia’s 26. A step below the UAE is Britain at 18 while Iceland ranks 20.

    Denmark is the world’s happiest country while the least happy is Togo, a small West African state, the report suggests.

  10. nYx says:

    Mark, Thank you and you know why. Respect.

  11. TheWestBank3er says:

    now every body is freaking engineer or chief cost analysis

    its the only country in the world that burns crude oil when there is shortage in fuel to power up AC’s in summer..

    every 100m you’ll find a transformer, and you think solar panels alone will be sufficient ? sufficient my @$$, thats whats the US wants, thats why they designed Grid roads system so no Metro plan will work, to be a freakin consumer, that what they want us to be ..

    you want really power ? use Stirling Engines, combines both sun & the f*cken heat during summer

  12. Security Adviser says:

    Uhhh almost all skilled Indians do end up as scientists in India. Almost 40% of NASA’s techs, scientists, ground crew are of Indian origin. Heck even one of their recent Astronaouts was of Indian origin.

    Not to forget Silicon Valley ..they might as well change the re-name to curry alley considering all the Indian techs that live there.

    Thats why I wont be surprised if they did end up having a bigger solar plant locally made by local talent at a fraction of the cost. Hell they have their space program for a fraction of the cost and it works. Them Indians… they may be brown and talk funny but they are way ahead in the brains and talent departments. ;-)

    • Rehab says:

      Stop believing in Movies buddy.
      The people whom you are calling Indians, calls themselves Americans ! Their forefathers were Indians. Just to show respect and get people like you still calls them Indians and take credit.

      According to you, I am Mughal, You are Aryan and we all are Apes :D !

  13. Security Adviser says:

    Strange looks like comments on this seem to have jumped up and down up a couple of time lines…

  14. Security Adviser says:

    To all… I apologize for my derogatory remark “them brown people” It was wrong and uncalled for.

    Much respect to Indians from the sub-continent and the US citizens of Indian origin.

    As for the link .. Thank you yahoo answers where a bunch of people decided to vote on the very best answer that suited white pride :-)

    Doesn’t change facts though. India does have a proven,viable and cheaper space program, will one day make inter-space cryogenic technology work, their rockets dont burst mid way over the the Indian ocean any more..at least not now. Matter of record is the fact that that they have developed and perfected an inter-continental missile program capable of a nuclear strike in all three avenues of battle. Have the brains and technical capability to build solar farms that will rival the very best nations and at a far cheaper price. Dont need a movie to believe that.

    And finally I am not Aryan.. Eurasian maybe. If you are Mughal more power to you. You guys make a mean butter chicken and chicken tandoori ;-)

    And just because we all walk upright, aint hairy all over, smell nice,cover our bodies with clothes, have slightly higher intelligence than your average gorilla or chimpanzee, can speak & converse doesn’t mean we are not apes.

    Some times they way we behave makes us just like them. Only diff being we look and smell a whole lot better.

  15. Mo Bo says:

    The best method for generating electricity would be hydro electric. You would need stron currents for it to generate a strong amount though and for those currents you would need acces to an Ocean. candidates for Generating Huge amounts of energy under that Category would be Saudia Arabia and Oman.


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