Jordan's second PV tender leads to record low tariffs

A source close to pv magazine said four international companies have been selected under Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources’ second tender program to install 200 MW of solar PV. The tender, underway since 2013, included financial bids from 24 applicants (initial number of applicants were 33), ranging from US$0.0613 to $0.1327 per kWh, with the four lowest bids coming in at $0.0613, $0.0649, $0.0691 and $0.0767 per kWh, respectively.

Jordan’s first round of renewable energy auctions led to the procurement of 200 MW of PV capacity divided among 12 projects of various sizes. Of the successful projects, 11 received a tariff of $0.169 per kWh over 20 years, and one, the Shams Ma’an 52.5 MW project, received $0.148 per kWh, also over 20 years.

The second tender round may have broken a world record, states Samer Zawaydeh, a Jordan-based freelance engineering consultant. "The lowest current international prices for electricity generated from solar PV systems range between $0.07 to $0.11 per KWh, depending on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) at the projects’ location," he told pv magazine.

"I believe the bidders in the second round of tender in Jordan were able to submit such low bids factoring several assumptions. These should mainly relate to the increase in efficiencies and the reduction in PV technology prices by the time the projects are implemented about 20 to 30 months from now. This is the time required for the full development of technical, environmental, social and health impact studies following the financial loans approvals," Zawaydeh added.

Detailed project proposals from all 33 bidders were required, including the proposed location with coordinates, proof of contact with the relevant transmission or distribution grid company confirming grid connection capacity, and the bidder’s ability to raise at least $10 million in debt and equity financing.

SunRise PV Systems has announced it has been selected under the second bidding round. It plans to build its PV project near Al Mafraq, about 90 km North of Amman. "According to the tender schedule a PPA will be signed during the next months. Construction will follow shortly," said the company in a statement released. The industry is waiting for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to officially unveil the other successful bidders. All four will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO).

Jordan’s PV enjoys grid parity

The PV industry is slowly beginning to establish itself in the Arab kingdom. Indeed, while Jordan disappointed many in the industry a few months ago when its energy ministry announced the cancellation of the third tender round, there is optimism that grid parity has been reached in the country.

Engineering consultant Zawaydeh additionally believes a third tender round will be announced shortly, for another 200 MW of PV projects. "I expect Jordan to take advantage of the reduced prices of PV technology and to start, in the next few years, implementing hybrid systems combining renewable energy and fossil fuels based technologies," he added.

Bidding for the Quweira PV plant

Many are also waiting to find out the winner of the Quweira PV plant, the deadline for bid submissions of which was on December 18. The energy ministry has said it will select the successful bidder in July. The site for the plant in the southern part of the country is secured, according to the ministry, which adds that installed capacity will be between 65 to 75 MW.

The official list of 15 prequalified bidders is published here.

More PV arrivals: The Azrak plant

Last week, Ennera, a renewable energy company headquartered in Spain, announced the grid connection of the last phase of its Azrak PV farm. The Azrak farm is Jordan’s flagship PV project. The country’s first utility scale PV plant, it consists of two separate projects worth 2 MW and 3 MW, respectively, located in the province of Zarqa in central-eastern Jordan. It was constructed by the Spanish firm with funds from a bilateral Spanish-Jordan debt swap mechanism and is now owned by the Jordanian Government.

Edited by Becky Beetz