50 MW Jordan solar farm to be financed by IFC and Canadian government

The International Finance Corp. – a member of the World Bank Group – has teamed with the Canadian government to provide $76 million in financing for a large-scale solar farm in Jordan.

The 50 MW plant, to be located in the city of Mafraq in the northern part of the oil-importing country, will be developed by U.S-based EPC Fotowatio Renewables Ventures (FRV), which is part of the Abdul Latif Jameel Energy group.

Some $21 million of the $76 million total will be provided by the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program, and is the first solar farm to be financed out of the four that the Jordanian government has planned under its second round of solar PV projects.

Under the terms of the solar plant’s development, power provided will be supplied at a tariff of US 6.9 cents/kWh, which is below the average cost of electricity in Jordan and among the cheapest solar power available globally.

IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa, Mouayed Makhlouf, said that Jordan’s power demand is growing rapidly and that privately owned firms with financial clout and technical expertise had a role to play in bringing new and clean generation capacity to Jordan – and to do so at a competitive cost.

"This will help the government to provide Jordan’s economy with the energy it needs to grow," Makhlouf said.

For the IFC, this investment marks another portion of the group’s wider involvement in the Jordanian clean energy segment. In November 2013 the IFC was pivotal in financing Jordan’s 117 MW Tafila wind project, and the financing institution has since supported the creation of seven solar PV plants in the country.

This latest project sees the IFC mobilize some $12 million in funding from Dutch development bank FMO, $8 million from Europe Arab Bank (EAB), and $5 million from FinnFund, which is a Finnish development financier.

The government of Canada’s involvement via the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program is a strategic involvement designed to help Jordan secure its own energy future at a time of great political uncertainty in the region.

"The government of Canada’s investment in Jordan is helping them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support their transition to a cleaner and greener future," said Canadian minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna. "Growing renewable energy production, like solar power, is part of an effective strategy to address climate change."

Earlier this month, Jordan began preparing for the third round of its PV energy tender, which will add another string to the country’s burgeoning solar bow. The country is eyeing a 10% renewable penetration target by 2020, mostly delivered by wind and solar power – the latter aided by a well-received net metering scheme and competitive tenders.