Saudi developer reaches financial close on two Jordan solar projects

28 March 2017

Mafraq plants are two of the four projects under round two of government’s direct proposal programme

Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Latif Jameel Energy has reached financial close for two solar power plants in Jordan, which will have a combined generation capacity of 133.4MW.

Construction work will begin soon on the two plants, called Mafraq 1 and Mafraq 2, which will both be located in Mafraq. The solar projects will have a combined value of $180m. The plants will supply power to the grid for tariffs of 6.9 $cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and 7.6 $cents per kWh.

The Mafraq 1 plant has received a financing package from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, as part of Jordan’s programme to promote renewable energy. The Mafraq 1 project will also receive financing from the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), the Europe Arab Bank, Finnish development entity FinnFund and the IFC-Canadam Climate Change programme.

The Mafraq 2 project has secured financial support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Society for Promotion and Participation for Economic Cooperation (Proparco).

The Mafraq projects are two of the four projects under the second round of Jordan’s direct proposal renewable energy programme.

MEED reported in November that Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power had signed $54m of project finance agreements for its 60MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Jordan, another of the schemes under the second round.

The project finance consists of a $27m A-loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, and a $27m B-loan from the Netherlands Development Finance Company.

Its project company is the Local Company for Water and Solar Energy Projects (LCWSEP), which will be part of Acwa’s new renewable energy subsidiary, Acwa Power RenewCo.

The fourth project owned by Saudi Oger is understood to be seeking buyers, due to the company’s financial troubles in Saudi Arabia.

MEED reported in January that the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources (MEMR) had invited developers to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for the third round of its renewable energy direct proposal programme.

Under the third round, MEMR is planning for the development of 200MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar at a designated site in the Ma’an area, with 100MW of wind power projects to be developed in the southern part of Jordan at a site to be chosen by the developer.

Interestingly, for the third round, the expression of interest documents for the third round state that any solar and wind proposals including battery storage will be “seen as an advantage.” If projects with battery solutions are successful, this would mark the first utility-scale renewable projects in the region to utilise battery storage to enable off-peak power. While some utilities such as the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) are moving ahead with plans to use concentrated solar power (CSP) to enable storage of intermittent renewable energy, Jordan would be the first to utilise battery storage for large-scale PV and wind in the region.

The third round had originally been launched in 2014 with the intention of comprising of four build-own-operate (BOT) projects with a capacity of 100MW each, but was cancelled in the same year due to the lack of grid capacity.

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