by Mohammad Ghazal | Aug 04, 2014

AMMAN — First Solar, a global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, said Monday it signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the Shams Maan Company’s projected 52.5 megawatt solar-run power plant in the southern governorate.

The US company said it has also finalised a long-term operations and maintenance contract for the project, which is expected to be operational by early 2016.

First Solar contributed to the development of the project, which secured a 20-year power purchase agreement with the National Electric Power Company, it said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

The $150 million power plant — which will be the largest PV facility in the Middle East — is one of the main projects in Jordan’s plan to diversify its power generation portfolio.

Part of the Maan Development Area initiative in southern Jordan, some 220km south of Amman, the project will generate an estimated 500 jobs during its construction, which is expected to begin in early 2015, according to the developers.

When completed in 2016, the facility will supply an estimated 160 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, it said.

Jordan, which annually imports about 96 per cent of its energy needs, is embarking on several projects in the field of renewable energy.

Renewable energy projects with total capacity of 1,650 megawatts are expected to be connected to the grid by 2020, according to the Energy Ministry.