The EU is providing a €30 million ($31.8 million) grant to help the Water Authority of Jordan build a new solar PV plant to power three-to-five water pumping stations across the country.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will manage the grant funds and supervise the implementation of the project.
The project aims to help the country manage an increased population, which now includes 1.3 million refugees from Syria. Jordan is one of the first countries that Syrians flee to escape the civil war and terrorism threat in their home country next door.
This is not the first time that Jordan has turned to the solar PV technology to better cope with the refugee crisis. Last year, pv magazine reported that Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp, located in an inhospitable part of the desert in northern Jordan, is set to install a 6 MW solar PV park to help meet its energy needs.
Reem Al Jazi, communications office at the EU delegation in Jordan, told pv magazine that the capacity of the new PV plant to power the water pumping stations will be subject to a final feasibilities study. However, it is expected to be a 20 to 25 MW facility or facilities.
Most of the PV installations of this kind are often net metering or wheeling projects. Net metering suits installations where the generated power is consumed where it is generated, while the wheeling option is suitable for projects where the PV project is located far from the demand center.
Al Jazi confirmed this, saying the remuneration of the project will depend on the technology used. Therefore, she added, "if we use onsite PV systems, then we do net metering, but if we use wheeling (if surrounding land for each station is not sufficient to build an onsite facility), then it will be different. Our agreement with EBRD and the ministry of water is to keep both options open, based on land availability."
Finally, Al Jazi told pv magazine that the overall timeframe for the project is 30 months, which includes time for the studies, the tendering and the construction phase.
Jordan’s stellar solar PV success appears at the moment to be somewhat unstoppable.