Middle East’s first transfer ownership net metering system

Jordan’s Al-Hussein Bin Talal University and the Jordanian FB Group have signed an agreement to develop a 3 MW net metering system located in the university campus, about 9 km from the southern city of Ma’am and 210 km from the capital city, Amman.

That news would not be considered groundbreaking, given the country’s academic institutions tested leadership to install solar PV in their rooftops and lands. pv magazine has published a detailed list of ongoing university PV projects in Jordan.

However, the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University net metering system is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region that is based on the design, build, operate and transfer (DBOT) model.

In practice, this means the 3 MW PV installation will be developed and owned by the FB GROUP, with the ownership being transferred to the university only after 10 years.

Dr Firas Balasmeh, president and CEO of the Amman-headquartered FB Group, confirmed the news to pv magazine, saying that “the project will be fully financed by the Jordan Commercial Bank, where the agreement duration is 10 years, during which the plant will be owned by FB GROUP, and then the ownership will be totally transferred to the university.

“Following 10 years of operation, the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University will buy the net metering installation for 1 JD only,” Balasmeh added.

Usually all net metering projects are engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects and not DBOT, Balasmeh expanded. However, by utilizing the DBOT model, the university will start paying the FB Group only after the full operation of the station, and by the end of the first month, for 10 years only. At that point it will own the system, which will enable it to achieve substantial annual savings in electricity expenses both prior and after the PV system ownership.

Project equipment

Balasmeh said the 3 MW project, which will cover a university area of approximately 55,000 square meters, will use JinkoSolar PV modules, ABB string inverters, steel structures from Germany’s Schletter, AC and DC cables from Jordan’s Cableco, and control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions from the U.S:’s Campbell Scientific.

In addition to building the net metering plant, the FB Group has decided to build and donate to the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University the following systems aimed at assisting its research work: a weather station with all related components (also provided by Campbell Scientific); and equipping the university’s Energy Centre.

Apart from the net metering system, the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University is also planning to start building a 50 MW solar PV plant in 2016 on university land and in cooperation with the FB Group.