Orange Jordan taps MEI for 33.7 MW solar PV project

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A consortium comprising Paris-based Neoen and Jordan’s Millennium Energy Industries (MEI) and Catalyst Private Equity has signed an agreement with telecommunication company Orange Jordan to build five solar PV plants totaling 33.7 MW.

The venture is set to become one of the biggest private solar PV investments in the Middle East region, according to the companies.

The PV plants will enable Orange Jordan to fully cover its electricity needs from solar energy.

"Orange Jordan and their senior team are true pioneers, they are one of the first telecommunications companies worldwide to take the step to be 100% solar PV driven, aligning environment and community with savings,” said Ennis Rimawi, MEI chairman and managing director at Catalyst Private Equity.

The projects, which begins construction in late 2016, will be connected to the grid, benefiting from Jordan’s self-generation regulations.

Orange Jordan’s PV farms will use the wheeling option, meaning the PV farms will be installed away from the power consumption site and the company will pay the transmission fees and the losses in the distribution grid, a Neoen spokesperson told pv magazine.

The solar farms will generate almost 61 GWh a year, saving 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to the consortium. Orange Jordan did not provide details of its electricity savings but given that the average price of electricity for telecommunication companies in Jordan is about 0.30jd/khw, Orange Jordan could save up to 18,000,000 jd per year in electricity costs.

Orange Jordan CEO Jerome Henique said the ambitious project would “have long term environmental positive implications not only for Orange Jordan but for the country as a whole to sharply reduce CO2 emissions as fully aligned with our corporate social responsibility commitments and priorities.”

Apart from the engineering, procurement and construction of the plants, the Neoen-Catalyst-Millennium consortium will also finance and operate the plants. Neoen told pv magazine that it had secured financing through direct investment as well as from development and commercial banks.

Additional 14 MW of wheeling PV projects

Rimawi, meanwhile, revealed to pv magazine that MEI and Catalyst had also secured a separate 14 MW project in Jordan, details of which will be announced in May.

Rimawi revealed though that the 14 MW solar PV capacity would be executed across at least two sites and that the projects would also use the wheeling regime, like the Orange Jordan projects.

Orange Jordan’s PV farms and the additional 14 MW wheeling projects are additional signs of the increasing business in Jordan’s solar market. Last week, pv magazine reported on the growing interest among the country’s academic institutions to install solar PV plants to either cover their own electricity needs (via net-metering projects) or acquire additional income by selling the generated power to the grid (via power purchase agreements).

Such is the solar PV activity in the country that Jordan is on the way to surpassing its target of installing 600 MW of solar PV by 2020, with projects added through net-metering, wheeling and tender schemes.