Jordan to Invest Heavily in Solar Power and other Renewables

The Kingdom of Jordan currently imports an estimated 97% of its energy and is therefore highly dependent on its neighbours and other regional exporters of energy fuels and materials for the bulk of its energy needs.

Nestled between Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel, the Kingdom is not in a favoured location for geopolitical stability, however it does boast an impressive climate conducive to the production of renewable energy. With over 300 days of sunshine each year, harnessing this resource can provide a valuable source of domestically sourced energy to the country’s 9.7 million residents.

The region’s political instability has also posed challenges and developed some rather unique solutions to the country’s energy infrastructure. Refugees from neighbouring Syria have fled to Jordan and are being housed in refugee camps dotted around the country. At one camp, 80,000 refugees are provided with clean, free, renewable electricity produced on-site, saving the United Nations’ UNHCR agency millions in electricity costs each year.

Lessons learned, and technology applied in Jordan is also proving valuable for the region. As other countries look to invest in diversifying their energy production Jordan’s experience can pave the way and be exported allowing more projects to take foot in neighbouring countries with similar geographic potential.

Jordan already lays claim to the largest solar power plant in the region, the Shams Ma’an Power Plant. With an installed capacity of 52.5MW over 605,400 individual solar PV panels, the plant provides 1% of Jordan’s electricity need and is able to reduce over 90,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Commissioned in 2016, the two square kilometer plant’s construction cost an estimated $170 million.

Solar power would seem the default and most likely choice for renewable energy sources in the Kingdom, however, wind development is also not at a standstill and together, renewable sources of energy can already provide up to 7% of Jordan’s overall power consumption; setting the country on a path to reducing its energy dependence.