Located in western Abu Dhabi, Shams 1 is the largest renewable energy project in operation in the Middle East. It occupies 2.5 square kilometres and has a capacity of 100 megawatts. The solar field has 768 parabolic trough collectors to generate clean, renewable electricity.
Concentrated solar power generates electricity from the heat of the sun rather than sunlight, as is the case with solar photovoltaic technology. Parabolic trough systems use solar thermal collectors in the form of parabolic mirrors, with a central tube to concentrate the heat from direct solar irradiation. The heat in turn produces steam to drive a conventional turbine, ultimately generating electricity.
Shams 1 directly contributes toward Abu Dhabi’s target of 7 percent power-generation capacity via renewable energy by the year 2020. The plant also is helping the United Arab Emirates diversify its energy mix and reduce the country’s carbon footprint. The plant displaces about 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees or removing 15,000 cars from Abu Dhabi’s roads.
- Facility area: 2.5 square kilometres
- Equipment: 768 parabolic trough collectors
- Installed capacity: 100 megawatts
- Powers more than 20,000 UAE homes
- Emission reductions: 175,000 tonnes annually
- Operational date: March 17, 2013