First Solar has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 52.5 MW (AC) Shams Ma'an 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 also secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), Jordan’s power generation and distribution authority. Co-developing the project with Jordan's Kawar Group, First Solar 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."
The power plant - which will be the largest 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 kWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to approximately one percent of Jordan's annual energy output.
"The project has been optimized for low-cost, high-energy performance in actual conditions,” said Matthew Merfert, First Solar's Technical Director for the Middle East. “For instance, our advanced thin film modules will yield up to 8% 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.”