by Mohammad Ghazal | Jun 25, 2014 | 23:21

AMMAN — Business and households wishing to install photovoltaic systems to generate electricity will find it easier to do so under an initiative launched by the French Development Agency (AFD) on Wednesday.

The SUNREF Initiative — Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance — seeks to incentivise companies and households in Jordan to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental performance, Serge Snrech, AFD director for Jordan and Iraq, said at the launch ceremony.

Stressing the importance of the project, he said it will help reduce costs and support the country’s energy strategy which seeks to increase reliance on renewable energy to reach 10 per cent of the overall energy mix by 2020.

SUNREF Jordan is a JD38.5 million credit line extended at attractive terms to Cairo Amman Bank and Capital Bank of Jordan, for onward lending to businesses and households, according to a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

The initiative is supported by a team of financial and technical experts funded by Fonds Francais pour L’Enviornnment Mondial, who will be available free of charge to help both banks and companies assess good investments, added the joint statement from SUNREF, AFD and the Energy Ministry.

“The banks will be extending loans to clients at attractive conditions in terms of maturity, grace period and rate to finance eligible green projects,” the statement said.

As further incentive, the EU has allocated funds to provide cash-back incentive payments amounting to 5 per cent of all investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy funded under SUNREF, it added.

“Any Jordanian with a bank account can fill out a form to get a loan to buy a system to generate electricity or install solar energy system for heating water. Loans will be granted at very low and competitive interest rates with long payback periods,” Matthew Halle, project officer at the AFD, told The Jordan Times.

The initiative, he said, will encourage Jordanian households and business to install such systems.

The AFD initiative is also funding expert assistance to the government to help it implement its national strategies towards sustainable development Fonds Francais pur L’environment Mondial.

A focus of this support is towards the capacity building of the Energy Ministry’s Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund, which is looking to fund innovative projects aimed at contributing to reduce energy consumption.

Stressing that Jordan is committed to going ahead with renewable energy projects, Energy Minister Mohammad Hamed said the programme would opportunely complement the legal and regulatory environment already in place to address the country’s dependency on imported energy.

“Scaling up the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will help reduce the country’s significant energy bill,” he added.

Hamed noted that Jordan was one of the first countries in the region to enact a law enabling businesses and households to install systems to generate electricity through solar or wind energy.