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25 August 2014

First Solar to build, operate and maintain 52.5MW PV plant in Jordan

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 52.5MWAC Shams Ma’an photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The firm has also finalized a long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the project.

First Solar and Jordan’s Kawar Group co-developed the project, which secured a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the country’s power generation and distribution authority National Electric Power Company (NEPCO). Also, as part of its commitment to supporting additional foreign investment in the country’s renewable energy sector, First Solar elected to divest its stake to a consortium of investors consisting of Diamond Generating Europe Ltd (a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corp); Nebras Power Q.S.C. (a subsidiary of the Qatar Electricity & Water Company); and the Kawar Group.

“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,” comments Ahmed S. Nada, First Solar’s VP for the Middle East.

The power plant - which will be the largest PV facility in the Middle East - is a key component in Jordan’s strategic diversification of its generation portfolio, which is intended to boost energy security. As part of the Ma'an Development Area (MDA) initiative in southern Jordan, the project will generate an estimated 500 jobs during its construction, which is expected to begin in early 2015. When completed in 2016, the facility will supply an estimated 160 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year (equivalent to about 1% of Jordan's annual energy output).

“Every aspect of the project has been optimized for low-cost, high-energy performance in actual conditions. For instance, our advanced thin film modules will yield up to 8% more energy than an array or plant of the same power output rating using silicon-based modules, due to the high temperatures onsite,” says Matthew Merfert, First Solar's Technical Director for the Middle East. “Additionally, the First Solar Tracker will allow the plant to generate over 20% more energy than a fixed mounting system,” he adds.

Shams Ma’an is First Solar’s second utility-scale project in the Middle East, after engineering and constructing the 13MWDC first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai (currently the largest solar PV plant in the region). The multi-award-winning project was connected to the emirate’s grid in October 2013 (195 days after breaking ground).

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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