US thin-film firm First Solar is to build and operate what is set to become one of the Middle East’s largest PV power plants, the 52MW Shams Ma’an project in Jordan.
The company will also provide ongoing operations and maintenance services for the project once it is complete.
First Solar co-developed Shams Ma’an with local firm Kawar Group and has already secured a 20-year power purchase agreement for the plant with Jordan’s National Electric Power Company.
It has now opted to sell its stake in the project to a consortium of international investors, including Diamond Generating Europe, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, Nebras Power Q.S.C., a subsidiary of the Qatar Electricity & Water Company, and the Kawar Group. 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.
Shams Ma’an forms part of Jordan’s efforts to improve its energy security and bring and end to the regular power cuts it suffers from.
When it is complete, in 2016, the facility will supply an estimated 160 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, around 1% of Jordan’s annual energy output.
Matthew Merfert, First Solar’s technical director for the Middle East, said: “Underscoring the fact that what matters to Jordan is the amount of energy produced, every aspect of the project has been optimised 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.”