China's Silk Road Fund Co is investing in the world's largest solar thermal plant that's under development in Dubai, an executive at the company promoting the project said.
The project is being built by Riyadh-based Acwa Power International and Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd. It's expected to cost $3.9 billion to build and is planned to have a capacity of 700 megawatts, which is about half of what a nuclear reactor is capable of producing. Silk Road officials were not immediately available for comment.
"They are investing, as one of the shareholders in one of the CSP projects in Dubai," said Thamer Al Sharhan, managing director at Acwa, in an interview in London.
The financing gives credibility Acwa's ambitions to build one of the world's leading solar power plants at what was a record low cost when the project won a contract to supply electricity last year.
Acwa Power won a tender for the project with a bid to sell power at 7.3 cents a kilowatt-hour, which at the time was a record low for solar. It's expected to be commissioned in several stages starting with the fourth quarter of 2020.
CSP is short for concentrated solar project, a type of thermal plant where the sun's rays are focused on heating a fluid that can be used to turn power turbines. It's a solar technology capable of producing power after dark because the fluid involved retains much of its heat for hours after the sun sets. That's a contrast with photovoltaics, which make a charge
directly from the sun's energy.