First Solar, Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 52.5 megawatt (MWAC) Shams Ma’an photovoltaic (PV) power plant, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The company has also finalized a long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the project.
First Solar significantly contributed to the development of the project, which successfully secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), the country’s power generation and distribution authority. First Solar co-developed the project with Jordan’s Kawar Group, and as part of its commitment to supporting additional foreign investment in the country’s renewable energy sector, it elected to divest its stake to a consortium of investors consisting of Diamond Generating Europe Ltd., a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation; Nebras Power Q.S.C., a subsidiary of the Qatar Electricity & Water Company; and the Kawar Group. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“Shams Ma’an has already established a new benchmark for the independent production of renewable energy in the region, demonstrating how the selection of the right technology and service providers creates considerable value, which, in turn, helps attract experienced institutional investors,” said Ahmed S. Nada, Vice President for the Middle East at First Solar. “We are proud to have been given this opportunity to leverage our industry-leading expertise in project development to create a truly remarkable renewable energy asset. We now look forward to delivering a world-class power plant that will directly contribute to efforts to address the country’s urgent energy needs.”
The power plant – which will be the largest photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Middle East – is an important component in Jordan’s strategic diversification of its generation portfolio, which is intended to boost energy security. Part of the ambitious Ma’an Development Area (MDA) initiative in southern Jordan, the project will generate an estimated 500 jobs during its construction, which is expected to begin in early 2015. When it is completed, in 2016, the facility will supply an estimated 160 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is equivalent to approximately one percent of Jordan’s annual energy output.
“Underscoring the fact that what matters to Jordan is the amount of energy produced, every aspect of the project has been optimized for low-cost, high-energy performance in actual conditions. For instance, our advanced thin film modules will yield up to eight percent more energy than an array or plant of the same power output rating using silicon-based modules, due to the high temperatures onsite. Additionally, the First Solar Tracker will allow the plant to generate over 20 percent more energy than a fixed mounting system,” said Matthew Merfert, First Solar’s Technical Director for the Middle East.
Shams Ma’an is First Solar’s second utility-scale project in the Middle East; it successfully engineered and constructed the 13MWDC first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, currently the largest solar PV plant in the region. The multi-award-winning project was connected to the emirate’s grid in October 2013, 195 days after breaking ground.
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