Abu Dhabi officially launched what will become the world's largest independent solar power plant this week, and fittingly, it will be named Noor Abu Dhabi (or the Light of Abu Dhabi).
Capable of producing 1,177 MW of electricity, the plant will surpass India's plant in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, which opened last year and produces 648 MW. The India plant had surpassed Topaz Solar Farm in California, which has a capacity of 550 MW.
The UAE plant will cost some $3.2 billion, according to Arabian Business. It will be located in Suweihan and will provide power to hundreds of thousands of home. Officials said the aim is to complete the facility by the second quarter of 2019.
"This is an important occasion for Abu Dhabi’s development, and is represented by the launching of the world’s largest independent solar power plant," Abdullah Musleh Al Ahbab, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority told Gulf News.
The solar power plant is just one of many initiatives aiming to shift toward renewable energy in the UAE. Dubai has been steadily moving forward with the development of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park; the 200 MW second phase of the project went online in March.
The UAE aims to produce 24 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2021. Earlier this year, UAE Minister of Environment and Water Dr. Rashid Bin Fahd had said that the nation is on track to surpass its renewable energy goals.
In other Gulf countries, governments are turning toward renewable energy as well. Saudi Arabia, one of the world's top oil producing nations, aims to rely on 10 percent renewable energy by 2023.