First Solar, Inc. and Shams Ma’an Power Generation today announced the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a planned 52.5 megawatt (MWAC) solar power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The PPA was signed with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), the country’s regulatory authority for power generation and distribution, and is valid for 20 years.
Shams Ma’an Power Generation PSC – which counts First Solar GmbH as a shareholder – was established to pursue solar energy opportunities in the country. In addition to supplying its advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, First Solar will also provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for the project.
“The Shams Ma’an solar power plant represents the future of Jordan’s energy independence. By bringing together industry-leading capabilities, international financing and advanced thin-film technology that is ideally suited to local conditions, we will establish a regional benchmark for the independent production of power,” said Hanna Zaghloul, Chief Executive Officer of Shams Ma’an. “There is no doubt that adding PV capacity to the country’s energy generation portfolio offers Jordan and its people a winning value proposition.”
The power plant – which will be the largest facility of its kind in Jordan, representing one percent of the country’s overall generation capacity – will supply 160 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, sufficient to power over 35,000 average homes in the country. The project, which is part of the ambitious Ma’an Development Area (MDA) initiative in southern Jordan, will generate an estimated 500 jobs during its construction. Additionally, the plant will also help the country reduce its carbon footprint by displacing approximately 90,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per year, equivalent to removing about 20,000 cars from its roads.
“This agreement marks a significant step towards fulfilling Jordan’s energy security goals. By efficiently harnessing the country’s most abundant energy resource, Shams Ma’an will help power sustainable growth and development with clean, affordable and reliable solar electricity,” said Ahmed S. Nada, Vice President of Business Development for First Solar in the Middle East.
A vertically integrated solar energy company, First Solar recently set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV solar cell conversion efficiency, which has been certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The new research cell conversion efficiency – 20.4 percent in laboratory conditions – matches the research cell efficiency record of multicrystalline silicon, another technology used in the PV solar market.
With a pipeline of over 3 Gigawatts (GW) of contracted solar power plants and over 8GW installed worldwide, the collective capacity of the company’s modules is approximately the same as eight nuclear power plants. First Solar’s commercial footprint spans six continents, including Africa, with manufacturing facilities in the US and Malaysia.