Exclusive: New 50 MW university PV project to be built in Jordan

Al-Hussein Bin Talal University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 25 February with Jordan’s FB Group to build two solar PV projects. The first project is a 50 MW solar PV farm to be built on university land and the second project is a 3 MW net-metering system also on university premises.

The Al-Hussein Bin Talal University is located 9 Km from the southern city of Ma’an and 210 Km from the capital city Amman. The FB Group is headquartered in Amman and is active in various business sectors including the energy industry, medical devices and systems, and control and automation solutions, among others.

Dr Firas Balasmeh, president and CEO of the FB Group, told pv magazine this remains a MoU agreement until the projects receive the final approval from Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR). However, an independent analyst from Jordan confirmed that the deal is now secure.

FB Group plans to start building the net-metering installation in April and the solar farm by the end of 2016. “We aim to connect the 50 MW PV farm to the grid by the end of 2017,” said Balasmeh.

Project details

The 50 MW project will be owned by a consortium comprising the FB Group and USA’s Hecate Energy LLC. Financing for the project was arranged by Hecate Energy LLC, said Balasmeh.

“This is [going to be] a power purchase agreement (PPA) type of project with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and the price [of the contract] is 0.07 JD per Kwh,” added Balasmeh. NEPCO is Jordan’s publicly owned power transmission company.

Balasmeh also revealed that the project will use steel from Schletter, inverters from ABB and photovoltaic modules from Yingli.

The signing of the MoU between the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, the FB Group and the Hecate Energy consortium came as a surprise, as the university had originally signed a MoU for the two PV projects with a different consortium of companies in June 2015.

However, the initial set of companies failed to produce a full proposal for the MEMR. According to Balasmeh, the FB Group arranged to do so in less than two weeks, submitting the full proposal to the MEMR by 17 March 2016. Balasmeh is very positive about the projects, with their official endorsement expected in the next few days.

This isn’t the first time a Jordanian university plans to build a PV plant, and serves to highlight how dynamic the PV sector is becoming in Jordan. Two landmark PV projects were recently announced in the country: a 200 MW PV farm to be built by Abu Dhabi-based Masdar and a 100MW Quweira state-owned PV plant.