(EnergyAsia, November 16 2012, Friday) —Dubai expects to start up its first major solar power plant by next October, said Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) which awarded the contract for the construction of the 13MW project’s first phase.

Located in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the project kick-starts Dubai’s plan to produce 1% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and 5% by 2030.

The emirate’s Supreme Council of Energy has appointed DEWA to manage and execute the 124-million-dirham project, which will be linked to the national grid. (US$1=3.67 dirham).

DEWA said it has awarded the contract to M/S First Solar Inc to construct the project’s first phase that includes a 33KV substation and connection to the grid. DEWA received six bids in response to the open tender issued on June 26 2012.

“The PV plant installation is a key step in the implementation of the energy diversification strategy adopted by the Supreme Council of Energy, in which solar energy is set to become part of Dubai’s energy portfolio. The strategy is based on Dubai’s growing energy requirements and aims to maintain security of supply in the emirate of Dubai,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, DEWA’s managing director and CEO.

DEWA is targeting to expand the park’s solar power capacity to 1,000MW on completion.