Two years after passing its Renewable Energy and Efficiency Law (REEL) Jordan is moving forward with what will be the largest largest solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in the Middle East. Construction will begin on the 52.5 MW Shams Ma’an facility in early 2015 with completion in 2016. Shams is the Arabic word for “sun”.
US-based First Solar, Inc. co-developed Shams Ma’an with Jordan’s Kawar Group, and has now signed a contract to engineer, procure (materials and equipment) and construct (EPC) the plant in Ma’an province. Scope also covers long-term operations and maintenance. They’ve also entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Jordan’s National Electric Power Company.
The plant is part of the Ma’an Development Area initiative in southern Jordan.
According to a statement on the First Solar website, the power plant will supply 160 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year – roughly 1% of Jordan’s overall generation capacity – sufficient to power over 35,000 average homes in the country.
The project will also create an estimated 500 jobs during its construction. Additionally, the plant will also help reduce Jordan’s carbon footprint by displacing approximately 90,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, equivalent to removing about 20,000 cars from its roads.
“Shams Ma’an has already established a new benchmark for the independent production of renewable energy in the region, demonstrating how the selection of the right technology and service providers creates considerable value, which in turn helps attract experienced institutional investors,” said Ahmed Nada, First Solar vice president for the Middle East .
This is the company’s second utility-scale project in the Middle East following 2013 completion of the 13 MW first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum plant in Dubai. First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive PV solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules.