Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar led a partnership that includes French supermajor Total and Spanish energy infrastructure company Abengoa to launch the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant.
The companies said it took $600 million and three years to build a project billed as the largest of its kind in the world.
Masdar Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said the project is a milestone that has significance beyond the United Arab Emirates.
"Just like the rest of the world, the region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint," he said in a statement. "Shams 1 is a significant milestone, as large-scale renewable energy is proving it can deliver electricity that is sustainable, affordable and secure."
Shams 1 is designed to produce 100 megawatts of electricity by focusing the sun's rays on oil-filled pipes for steam generation. The project employs more than 258,000 mirrors on a 1-square-mile site. It would displace about 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
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