The world's largest single-unit solar power plant is due to be completed by the end of 2012, just over a month from now. It will officially open for business in the first quarter of 2013 and will have a generating capacity of over 100 mega watts of power - enough to power 20,000 homes in the region with electricity.
Named Shams1, the project is planned to continue with construction of Shams2 and Shams3, all of which will be of similar size and scope. The Masdar, Abu Dhabi endeavor broke ground in 2010, covers some 2.5 square kilometers, and has cost approximately $600 million so far.
Gizmag explains that Shams1 will "generate solar thermal electricity through focused sunlight, concentrated by the plant’s parabolic trough collectors, heating a coolant which then generates high-pressure steam that drives a conventional steam turbine." Similar technology is being used in Spain and Northern Africa at other large scale commercial solar thermal power stations.
The new solar power plant will contribute to Abu Dhabi's goal of 7% renewable energy power by 2020 and recently won Project of the Year Award from the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).
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