EBRD finances largest private-to-private solar project in Jordan yet

By Nibal Zgheib

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EBRD finances largest private-to-private solar project in Jordan yet

  • EBRD financing largest private-to-private solar project in Jordan yet with 37 MWp capacity
  • Solar park developed by Kawar Investment to supply telecom operator Orange Jordan
  • Clean Technology Fund, Jordan Kuwait Bank and Arab Jordan Investment Bank (Qatar) LLC co-financing

The EBRD together with its partners is supporting a pioneering energy project in Jordan with a financial package of up to US$ 35 million. The project will enable the telecoms operator Orange Jordan to cover part of its demand with clean energy generated in solar plants.

The investment will be the largest private-to-private solar project in Jordan yet, benefiting from new regulations that allow private consumers to establish their own energy facilities under a process known as “wheeling” that transports electricity from within the grid to facilities outside the grid’s boundaries.

The solar plants have been developed by the Jordanian company Kawar Investment, engineered, procured and constructed by Kawar Energy and are located in the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area, the Mafraq governorate and the Amman governorate. Their total capacity is 37 MWp. Kawar Energy, which currently holds one of the largest photovoltaic portfolios in the Middle East of more than 200 MW of operational projects, was able to construct the plant exceptionally quickly. The operation and maintenance arm of Kawar Energy will be handling the operations and maintenance of all three solar parks for the next 20 years.

The financing is provided by the EBRD with a loan of up to US$ 15 million, the Jordan Kuwait Bank PSC (JKB) with US$ 9.0 million, the Arab Jordan Investment Bank (Qatar) LLC (AJIBQ) with US$ 6.0 million and the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund with US$ 4.6 million. The project marks the EBRD’s first collaboration of the EBRD with two major Jordanian banks to finance an energy project, demonstrating the attractiveness of renewable energy for commercial financing and highlighting the expertise of Jordanian banks in structuring innovative project finance transactions.

The three plants are expected to generate around 70 GWh per year in total, reducing CO2 emissions by 41,500 tonnes annually. Historically Jordan has relied on hydrocarbon imports to meet its energy needs, but in recent years the country has introduced significant initiatives to develop its potential in renewables such as solar. With support from the EBRD, the local renewable energy sector has increased capacity from around 20 MW to over 1,000 MW between 2012 and 2019, with an estimated 1.2 GW under construction or development.

The engagement is also the EBRD’s first project in Jordan within its southern and eastern Mediterranean Private Renewable Energy Framework (SPREF). The Bank launched SPREF in 2015 to support the development and financing of innovative business models to mobilise private finance for renewable energy projects in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region. The framework is supported by the Clean Technology Fund and the Global Environment Facility.

The EBRD and Climate Investment Funds (CIF) have worked together for a decade on investments in climate change mitigation, adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. From 2009-19, the CIF has supported more than 90 EBRD endeavours, providing nearly US$ 450 million in concessional loans or grants for technical cooperation.

The Green Climate Fund’s and EBRD’s partnership for transformation has seen the GCF support six EBRD programmes with US$ 830 million, catalysing more than US$ 3.6 billion in total project value. The GCF is the largest climate fund in the world to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.

SPREF also falls under the umbrella of the Regional Dialogue Platform on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, created by the Union for the Mediterranean, with the aim of promoting the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in energy generation, transmission, distribution and end use.

Since 2012, the EBRD has provided over €1.3 billion to 43 projects in Jordan, including more than €596 million in loans to 13 projects in the country’s power sector.

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