Jordan to host Middle East’s largest net metering PV of 17 MW capacity

Salem Amer Yousef, electrical and automation projects manager at Lafarge Cement Jordan (LCJ), told pv magazine that the company has already signed an “Energy Saving Contract” concerning the project with the Dubai-headquartered Adenium Energy Capital. This type of contract allows Adenium Energy Capital to develop, design, engineer, procure, arrange to construct, finance, own, operate and maintain the 17 MW PV power generation plant.

In other words, the solar plant belongs to the build-own-operate (BOO) category of projects, which is very common among net metering systems for large commercial and business consumers in Jordan. The idea is that the energy user saves money by buying cheaper electricity from the photovoltaic plant, and the PV plant owner profits by selling the generated power to the user. The project owner does not get a subsidy tariff from the state, however the plant is net metered.

Initially, said Yousef, LCJ “invited 11 bidders to quote on this PV project, and Adenium Energy Capital was selected among them.

LCJ has two cement plants in Jordan, one in Fuheis and another in Rashadiyah, and is the leading producer of cement in the country, with a capacity of 4 million tons annually. The 17 MW PV plant will be built near LCJ’s Rashadiya plant in the Tafila region.

The Rashadiya cement plant’s annual electricity consumption is about 120 GWh, and the 17 MW solar plant will save the company about 35 GWh per year, said Yousef.

LCJ has also signed an initial agreement with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) to connect the photovoltaic plant to the grid.

The project, Yousef confirmed, has secured financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) via a loan to Adenium Energy Capital. “Details about the components of the PV plant cannot be provided yet, since the project is still in the design phase. Nevertheless, by the end of May we will be able to confirm all project details, e.g. the plant’s modules and inverters, while the plant is expected to be connected to the grid in December” added Yousef.

Lafarge Cement Jordan’s net metering project will be the country’s largest to date, claims Yousef. pv magazine estimates that it will also be the largest such project in the whole MENA region.

LCJ’s plant is the most recent example of Jordan’s lead in the solar sector, and in net metering specifically. A year ago, pv magazine reported that Jordan was about to host MENA’s first transfer-ownership net metering PV plant, while the country’s universities and other large energy consumers have also embraced net metering PV as a means to reduce their electricity bills.