by Taylor Luck | Aug 07, 2013 | 23:15

AMMAN — Hospitals across Jordan are preparing to switch to solar power in an attempt to cut down on soaring electricity costs.

In an agreement signed earlier this week, the Jordan Private Hospitals Association (JPHA) and the Jordan Renewable Energy Society (JRES) embarked on a project to establish a 15-megawatt (MW) solar power plant to provide electricity for tens of hospitals across Amman.

According to the JPHA, the project aims to cut down hospitals’ electricity bills, which reportedly account for over 20 per cent of operational costs, with the average 200-bed medical centre paying over JD90,000 per month.

Once established, the plant is expected to lead to an immediate 20 per cent drop in private hospitals’ energy bills, with the association expecting to recoup initial building costs after a five-year period.

“Electricity has become the largest operational cost for Jordan’s hospitals, and like citizens across the country, they have found the solution in renewable energy,” said Mohammed Taani, president of the JRES, the society tendering and carrying out the project.

Depending on the number of hospitals that join the consortium, officials may expand the power plant — to be established on the outskirts of Amman — to a 100MW capacity, according to Taani.

Once established, the plant would mark the largest non-commercial private sector renewable energy initiative in Jordan.

In a similar bid to minimise growing energy costs, Al al Bayt University launched a project last month that will establish a 2MW solar power plant near the university’s facilities.

The project comes days ahead of an expected rise in electricity tariffs, with Amman set to increase electricity rates by an average of 15 per cent following the Eid Al Fitr holiday, which ends on Sunday.