Masdar signs PPA with Jordan’s NEPCO for 200 MW solar plant

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Masdar, a clean energy developer based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) for its 200 MW solar plant.

The large-scale solar farm will be the biggest single solar installation in Jordan once complete, and will be owned and operated by Masdar, connecting to the Al Muwaqqar substation close to Jordan’s capital, Amman.

According to Jordan’s energy minister Ibrahim Saif, the signing of the PPA marks the “forward progress of a significant investment in Jordan’s energy security”, and will help to raise the international profile of the kingdom as a key destination for utility-scale solar projects.

Last week pv magazine reported that NEPCO had begun to process bidding offers for the first three tenders issued as part of its Green Corridor project, which aims to enhance the capacity of the electricity transmission network in the south of the country.

This project is expected to play a vital role in helping Jordan develop a renewable energy footprint, enabling the development of solar and wind projects in the south to send energy northwards.

Already in the region a 52.5 MW solar plant – developed by U.S. firm First Solar – has been connected to the grid in the Ma’an area.

The nation is targeting the installation of 800 MW of solar PV, which is a relatively meek goal considering the growing demand for energy across the country.

Masdar hopes to connect its 200 MW solar plant in early 2018, and in doing so will deliver enough clean energy to meet the annual power needs of 110,000 local households, while inching the country closer towards its aim of reaching 20% renewable penetration by 2020.

pv magazine has learned Masdar has not selected the EPC contractor yet, but meetings with potential contractors took place in June and the EPC contract will be tendered.

The project is expected to be operational by the beginning of 2018 at the latest, but this currently looks unlikely.

The Masdar project was not allocated through a tender process as with the rest of the large-scale projects. It was a direct allocation under no competitive mechanism.

The feed-in tariff has not been revealed yet. However, for the government to justify the direct allocation, the tariff needs to be less than US$0.0613 per kWh, which is the lowest tariff allocated to a 50 MW PV farm in Jordan’s second competitive tender run last year.

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