Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has extended the deadline for bids to build a 10MW photovoltaic solar power plant outside the city of Dubai.

A total of 12 contractors have been prequalified to bid. The companies must submit their bids by 16 August. Around 150 companies expressed interest in the project and roughly 80 companies submitted statements of qualification (SOQs).

At a cost of about AED120m ($33m), the solar project will be financed by six government bodies headed by the Supreme Council of Energy. It will be built on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. The power plant will be connected to Dewa’s grid and is scheduled for commissioning in the third quarter of 2013.

The photovoltaic solar project will be Dubai’s largest solar power scheme, eclipsing the combined capacity of all other solar projects in the emirate. Dubai currently has about 4.5MW of installed solar power capacity. The largest project is at Meydan and has a capacity of 750kW. Other projects are at Jebel Ali and the Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai intends to expand its solar power capacity extensively through the development of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, a 1,000MW multi-technology project, of which the new 10MW will be the first part. The project will be located near the E66 Dubai to Al-Ain road, about 50 kilometres outside Dubai city. Dewa will manage and operate the overall development of the park.

In February, Dewa selected Austria’s ILF Consulting Engineers to advise on the development of the 10MW project, as well as the planning for the solar park. The park will cover 48 square kilometres at Seih al-Dahal, located southeast of Dubai city. A collection of facilities using photovoltaic, concentrated solar power (CSP) trough and solar power tower technology will feature at the site.

According to Dewa, the solar park will require a total investment of about AED12.6bn ($3.5bn), although the project is likely to cost more. While the first phase will be government procured, subsequent projects could be financed by the private sector.