Abu Dhabi Future Engergy Company (Masdar) has prequalified to 14 companies to bid for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on its third solar project.

The prequalification ends speculation that the Noor 1 100MW photovoltaic plant (PV) would be tendered as an independent power project (IPP), as had been the case with Masdar’s other large-scale solar project, Shams 1 (MEED 3:6:11).

The 100MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project reached financial close on 3 March, after Spain’s Abengoa and France’s Total had been selected for the project in June 2010. In line with the IPP model usually deployed in Abu Dhabi, Masdar holds a 60 per cent stake in the Shams Power Company, the projects holding company, with Abengoa and Total owing a 20 per cent each.

Earlier this year, Mohamed al-Zaabi, general manager of Shams Power Company, had suggested that government-owned Masdar would apply the IPP model to the Noor 1 facility.

“Noor 1 will be an IPP like Shams 1, because the IPP model is very effective for these projects,” he said.

Contractors have confirmed the plant will be built on an EPC basis, with Masdar retaining the ownership of the project.

The companies that have prequalified are:

  • ABB (Switzerland)
  • Acciona (Spain)
  • BP Solar (UK)
  • Elecnor (Spain)
  • Environmena (local)
  • Gerlicher (Germany)
  • Iberdrola (Spain)
  • Isolux Corsan (Spain)
  • M+W Group (Germany)
  • Phoenix Solar (Germany)
  • Schneider Electric (France)
  • Siemens (Germany)
  • Sun Power (US)
  • Q-Cells (Germany)

The solar project will be located to the east of Al-Ain city in the Al-Aflaj area. Construction is to start in 2012 and the expected completion date is the third quarter of 2013.

Masdar selected PV technology over CSP because a drop in prices for PV over the past two years made it more attractive, associate director Frank Wouters told MEED in June.

Masdar already has a 10MW PV 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.

Masdar declined to comment on the Noor 1 developments.