Jordan: new 100 MW Quweira PV farm given green light

pv magazine has learned that Jordan’s ministry of energy and mineral resources has awarded Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena Power Systems and Spanish TSK Groupthe contract to build the Quweira PV plant.

The Quweira site, which is to be the location of the new solar plant in the southern part of the country, was announced in November 2014 together with a call for the submission of applications concerning the project’s EPC contract prequalification.

Finally, more than a year later, the country has picked the winner out of a list of prequalified applicants that resubmitted their tenders.

A surprisingly positive outcome is the news that the ministry’s initial call for the submission of EPC applications talked of the construction of a 65 MW to 75 MW PV plant. However, the final decision, reached last month, award a 100 MW PV plant that will cost approximately $130 million.

EPC projects owned by the state

pv magazine asked Karim Asali, a Jordanian and First Solar’s technical director for Europe, why the Quweira project was tendered separately and not together with the rest of the large-scale solar PV projects in Jordan’s first or second national tender for PV plants.

Asali said that this is because the Quweira project is owned by the state, forming a separate form of remuneration scheme for PV plants in Jordan.

With the competitive biddings of the first and second tenders, Jordan’s government awarded projects that are solely owned by private investors, Asali expanded.

The Quweira project, though, is state-owned, suggesting a separate EPC scheme where the government awards the EPC contractor but then also owns the project. The rationale behind the EPC scheme, Asali added, is that these projects are funded through foreign donations, hence financing is considered to come via public money and, therefore, the tender of the project should not be left totally to the market.

In the case of the Quweira PV farm, the funding is a donation of the Abu Dhabi development fund channeled through Jordan’s government.

Jordan has a target to install 600 MW of solar PV and 1,200 MW of wind capacity by 2020, and the first two tenders for large-scale PV plants and the net metering scheme have already kick-started a lively domestic PV market.

The January issue of pv magazine expands on Jordan’s great solar PV success and draws on the opportunities and limitations that are set to boost or halt the Jordanian PV industry.