First Solar to build, operate and maintain power plant in Jordan

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First Solar to build, operate and maintain power plant in Jordan

First Solar, Inc. has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 52.5 MW 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
  • Kawar Group.

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. When it is completed, in 2016, the facility will supply an estimated 160 million kWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to approximately 1% of Jordan's annual energy output.

Matthew Merfert, First Solar's Technical Director for the Middle East, commented:

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% more energy than a fixed mounting system.

Shams Ma'an is First Solar's second utility-scale project in the Middle East; it successfully engineered and constructed the 13 MW 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.

In late April we reported that the EOI for the Second phase of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was issued.

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