Jordan: mosques and universities embrace solar

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Of the 6,300 mosques across Jordan, an astonishing 2,000 of them are planning to rely on electricity generated through solar panels, government officials announced last week. It is a reduction of the country’s initial plan to install solar PV on the rooftops of about 6,000 Jordanian mosques, nevertheless the news is a positive sign that Jordan’s rooftop PV sector is thriving.

Currently, there are about 400 mosques relying on solar energy to cover their power needs, said the same government official. An additional 1,600 mosques also have high electricity bills, making the PV investment worthwhile.

The project to power the country’s mosques with solar PV is a collaboration between the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and will be funded with JD4 million (US$5.6 million) from the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF). JREEEF is managed by Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and has funded similar urban and rural net metering schemes in the country.

According to the available information, the JREEEF funds will cover half of the mosques’ expenditure for the PV systems and the other half is expected to be donated by charities.

Systems ranging between 2 to 3 kW are expected to be installed on each mosque. For large consumers like mosques, a 2 kW net metering PV investment can be paid off in as little as two years.

Solar PV’s strongest Jordanian ally: the universities

Last month, pv magazine revealed that Jordan’s Al-Hussein Bin Talal University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with local FB Group to build a 50 MW solar PV farm on university land and a 3 MW net-metering system also on university premises.

Al-Hussein Bin Talal University is not alone, Samer Zawaydeh, a Jordan-based freelance engineering consultant, told pv magazine. “Public universities are working on developing a balanced budget instead of relying on government support. And a solar PV project is one of the main solutions to achieve this goal”, said Zawaydeh. “Jordanian Universities will soon run on clean energy with net zero electricity consumption, while large universities with enough land will be able to develop power purchase agreements (PPAs) for twenty years and sell the generated power to the grid, just like the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University plans”, he added.

The following is a list of Jordanian universities that have embraced solar technology and have added, are in the process of adding, or have agreed to add PV capacity. The list is compiled by Zawaydeh’s consultancy.

8.39 MW of operation PV projects:

  • 0.276 MW at Al-Ahliyya Amman University
  • 0.164 MW at Al-Zaytoonah University
  • 1.5 MW at Amman Arab University
  • 1.5 MW at Applied Science University (private)
  • 0.25 MW at Arab Open University
  • 1.5 MW at Petra University
  • 0.7 MW at Philadelphia University
  • 0.079 MW at Balqa Applied University
  • 0.5 MW at Jadara University
  • 0.03 MW at Tafila Technical University
  • 1.89 MW at Zarqa University (private)

9.98 MW of PV projects under construction:

  • 1.06 MW at Al Quds College
  • 1.6 MW at Al-Zaytoonah University
  • 0.57 MW at Applied Science University (private)
  • 0.25 MW at Irbid National University
  • 0.5 MW at Jerash University (private)
  • 1 MW at Tafila Technical University
  • 5 MW at Hashemite University

58 MW of awarded PV projects:

  • 53 MW at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University
  • 5 MW at Jordan University of Technology and Science

3 MW of PV under tendering at the Yarmouk Univeristy

147.5 MW of announced PV projects:

  • 85 MW at the Al al-Bayt University
  • 40 MW at the University of Jordan
  • 16 MW at the Jordan University of Science and Technology
  • 2.5 MW at the Columbia University (the Amman branch)
  • 2.5 MW at the German Jordanian University
  • 1.5 MW at the Hashemite University