by Scotty Hendricks
The United Arab Emirates is on a solar kick - it has
just opened the world's largest solar farm.
This is only one of several huge power plants
they've opened recently.
While the country is still heavily dependent on oil,
the new solar plants may change things.
Will the small
soon be solar
You might have heard that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is building
a concentrated solar power plant that will keep the lights on after
the sun goes down.
While that might be
impressive enough by itself, it isn't the only solar plant they
In fact, they just opened
up the world's largest conventional solar plant this week.
Let there be
light from sunlight!
Noor Abu Dhabi is the world's new largest individual solar
Built at the cost of
almost $900M, the plant contains 3.2 million solar panels. It will
produce 1.17 gigawatts of power; enough to supply the needs
of 90,000 people and reduce their yearly carbon emissions by
1,000,000 metric tons.
This is the equivalent of
200,000 cars off the roads.
However, it will not make quite enough electricity to make a
DeLorean go back in time...
How do other
While Noor Abu Dhabi is the world's largest solar site,
Shakti Sthala, in
India, produces 2 gigawatts of power and Longyangxia Dam Solar Park
in China has four million solar panels producing 850 megawatts.
For comparison, the
largest facility in the United States is Solar Star, which
produces 569 megawatts of power.
The UAE better watch out though, because Saudi Arabia is working on
a solar farm outside of Mecca that will produce 2.6 gigawatts
of power when it's
Does this mean
the UAE is going green?
Last year they opened the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar
Park and has been investing billions upon billions of dollars
into solar power for a while now.
The plan, according to
the vice president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum,
"balance our economic
needs with our environmental goals."
According to the head of
the Emirates Water and Electric Company, Mohammad Hassan Al
Suwaidi, this solar plant is part of an ambitious program of
cleaning up their energy
"The completion of
the project marks a significant milestone in the UAE's Energy
Strategy 2050, launched in 2017, to increase the contribution of
clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent by 2050 while
reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70
However, they are still
very reliant on fossil fuels and take steps to keep the price of oil
where they want it so their economy
This new solar farm is a step in the right direction, but it is
still only a step.
As the nations of the world become more aware of the problems fossil
fuels can cause they are increasingly turn to renewables. While the
UAE isn't about to stop selling oil anytime soon, it has made a bold
move toward a greener future with this solar plant.
Will it one day be known
for solar power rather than petroleum?
Only time will tell...