Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) is planning to invite bids to build a 10MW solar power project in the emirate by June.

According to Saeed Mohammad al-Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of Dewa, “We hope that by June, it will be out to tender.” The project is scheduled to commence operations in the third quarter of 2013.

At a cost of about AED120m ($33m), the project will be financed on balance sheet 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.

The photovoltaic solar project will be Dubai’s largest solar power project eclipsing the combined capacity of all other solar projects in the emirate. Dubai currently has around 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.

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 solar park will cover 48 square kilometres at Seih al-Dahal, located south east 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). While the first phase will be government-procured, subsequent projects could be financed by the private sector. This could take the form of independent power projects (IPPs) in a similar structure already employed for traditional power plants.

Dewa has also said that it intends to establish a clean energy fund, which will be a vehicle for private sector finance for new renewable energy projects, including projects in the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park.

When asked whether the projects would be developed as IPPs, Al-Tayer stated that a decision has not yet been made and “the consultants are studying the whole plan”.