Oman’s largest solar plant is likely to begin operation by the middle of 2021, the Oman-based newspaper Times of Oman said on Monday.
The plant will produce enough power to power up to 33,000 homes and will remove around 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the country’s output every year, the Times reported.
Construction began in the second quarter of 2020 and the plant, costing around $400 million and known as Oman Ibri II, is located near Ibri, the capital of the Dhahirah Governorate.
A joint project between ACWA Power, Gulf Investment Corporation, and Alternative Energy Projects Company, the plant will use inverters supplied by Chinese energy firm Sungrow to store power, according to the Times.
“The Ibri project is the largest photovoltaic plant in the country to date. It is located in a desert 300 km to the west of Muscat, with ample sunshine and abundant flat land. It is favorable to set up solar plants in this vibrant market, as is in other key markets in the MENA regions due to the regional initiatives on renewable energy and ample abundant sunlight,” Alvin Shi, Sungrow’s managing director for the MENA region said, the Times reported.
Oman has been working to diversify its sources of energy in recent years, which has historically been based on fossil fuel production. The Ibri II solar plant is an important step in building up the Sultanate’s renewable capacity, Rajit Nanda, the chief investment officer of ACWA Power explained to the Times.
“The Ibri II solar plant is expected to play a strategic role in building Oman’s renewable production capacity,” he said.
Solar power has become a popular choice among Gulf countries looking to diversify their energy needs. Saudi Arabia has become home to several ventures, with more on the way. In late June, the Kingdom’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz said that the country would soon be announcing a solar project that would take the lead globally in terms of the lowest cost of production.
Meanwhile, the UAE has also made several significant investments. In April, reports suggested that Abu Dhabi was continuing with plans to build an enormous solar farm bigger than 4,200 soccer pitches combined, providing low price, renewable energy.