China’s Silk Road Fund, a state-owned investment fund, will invest in the planned $3.8bn concentrated solar power (CSP) project in Dubai.

The 700MW CSP project, being developed by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power in consortium with China’s Shanghai Electric, will make up the fourth phase of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) solar park and will be the world’s largest thermal solar plant upon completion.

“They are investing as one of the shareholders in one of the CSP projects in Dubai,” said Thamer al-Sharhan, managing director of Acwa Power, during a conference in London.

The Acwa Power/Shanghai Electric joint venture was awarded the contract to develop the 700MW plant for a tariff of 7.3 cents a kilowatt hour ($c/kWh), a record-low price for a utility-scale CSP plant.

The project is expected to be commissioned in several stages starting in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The project consists of a 100MW tower and three 200MW parabolic trough fields that will focus the sun’s rays to heat a fluid that is then used to power turbines. The plant is capable of producing power after dark as the heating fluid maintains its high temperature.

The site will feature the world’s tallest solar tower (260 metres) and will provide clean energy to 270,000 households in Dubai.

The CSP project is the second Acwa Power project in Dubai that the Silk Road Fund is investing in. The Chinese investment vehicle is also providing financing for the 2,400MW Hassyan coal-fired independent power project (IPP), which Acwa Power is developing in partnership with China’s Harbin Electric.

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