Abu Dhabi plans to tender its third utility-scale solar project this year.

The 100MW photovoltaic solar Noor 1 project will be launched to the market before the end of the year, says Frank Wouters, head of power at Masdar.

Industry sources expect the request for information (RFI) to be issued in February followed by the request for qualification (RFQ) in April or May.

The facility will be tendered as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project.

Masdar already has a 10MW photovoltaic solar facility in operation. The project, which covers 22 hectares, comprises 5MW of crystalline technology and 5MW of thin film units. It entered operation in April 2009 and is grid-connected.

Following the completion of the first project, Masdar launched a 100MW scheme, Shams 1, which will use concentrated solar power technology (CSP). Spain’s Abengoa and France’s Total were selected to build the project in June 2010.

Financing for the project is being finalised. The following banks are set to lend on the $740m project, of which about $600m will be debt finance:

  • Societe Generale (France)
  • BNP Paribas (France)
  • Natixis (France)
  • Mizuho (Japan)
  • Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (Japan)
  • Sumitomo (Japan)
  • WestLB (Germany)
  • KfW (Germany)
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi (UAE)
  • Union National Bank (UAE)

France’s BNP Paribas is acting as financial adviser on the project. UK firm Linklaters is advising Abengoa and Total.

When asked why the emirate’s third large solar project will use photovoltaic as opposed to CSP technology, Wouters said, “Prices have dropped so much in the past two years [for photovoltaic solar units]. It makes sense to use photovoltaic solar for the Noor 1 project.”