Jordan launches plan to install solar on 6,000 mosques

The Jordan government has announced plans to install solar PV systems on the country’s 6,000 mosques.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs are working together to begin implementing the project this year, according to The Jordan Times.

Speaking to the newspaper, Ahmad Abu Saa, a representative of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources’ renewable energy department, said the project would begin by covering 120 mosques followed by tenders to install PV systems at other mosques across the country.

"Mosques use large amounts of electricity and the project will help to significantly reduce their electricity bills as around 300 days in the year are sunny," Abu Saa said.

Describing the project as a pioneering venture in the Middle East, Abu Saa said its implementation would be financed through grants and assistance. The pace of the rollout will depend on the amount of financing the ministries secure. “The more finance we get the faster the project will be implemented. Some of the mosques will get such systems this year.”

According to Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission statistics, Jordan currently has some 750 PV systems installed totaling 23.4 MW capacity, including arrays on about 80 mosques.

Attendees of one mosque in Amman, the Abu Ghaweileh Mosque, recently donated JOD 16,000 ($22,588) for the installation of a rooftop PV system to power the structure’s lighting and air-conditioning.

Prior to the installation of the PV system, the mosque paid more than $1,400 a month for electricity, Nidal Alayyan, the mosque’s imam, told The Jordan Times. Now the mosque sells surplus power to the main grid, Alayyan added.

The Jordanian government introduced net-metering regulations in 2012 allowing PV owners to sell solar power at a rate of 125 fils, or nearly $0.18, per kilowatt hour.

The country builds about 150 new mosques every year, according to The Jordan Times.

Jordan, which imports about 96% of its energy needs annually, expects to connect about 1.65 GW of renewable energy projects to the grid by 2020.