They don’t do ‘small’ in the United Arab Emirates. The world’s thirteenth richest countrybuilds its own islands and boasts the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which itself is surrounded by enough towering glass-covered skyscrapers to require afleet of robots to clean them. And now, this country that has risen from poverty to become the world’s thirteenth richest after striking oil, is doing renewable energy in a characteristically big way. They’ve just completed the world’s largest solar power station.
Compare the Shams 1 to the largest solar photovoltaic system in the United States, the White Sands Missile Range systemdedicated at the beginning of this year. Its 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year allow it to provide 10 percent of the total power usage at White Sands, reducing the installation’s carbon emission by 7,400 tons per year. But while it is the largest in the US, at 4.1 MW, White Sands’ output is yet a fraction of what Shams 1 can produce.