Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has received bids from developers to build its 100MW solar power project – Noor 1.

It may be disappointed with the number of bidders and the prices that were submitted. Several prequalified companies cited the firm’s insistence that 50 per cent of the project should incorporate Masdar-constructed solar panels as an important factor in their decision not

to bid.

Masdar’s panels are still being developed and have never before been deployed in a renewable energy project. The design differs from the traditional thin film photovoltaic solar design in that it includes a triple junction instead of a single junction and has an extra layer of thin film.

Concerns were raised by the developers about risks associated with developing a project that uses a large amount of as yet untested technology as they would be required to guarantee commissioning of the full project.

Masdar’s combination of different aspects of the renewable energy sector including manufacturing, development, carbon trading and clean tech funds is pioneering and impressive. But in its bid to maximise synergies, it may have sabotaged the Noor 1 project.

At the very least, using new technology on a commercial scale will drive up development costs. Several developers suggested waiting for Noor 2 and 3 to deploy the new panels. This may have been good advice.

Contractors submit bids for Abu Dhabi’s Noor 1 solar plant