Trina Solar looks to invest $200 million in Jordanian solar power

A Chinese firm is set to invest up to $200 million in a solar power project in Jordan, officials say, becoming the latest international firm to express interest in the country’s nascent renewable energy sector.

Chinese solar energy giant Trina Solar has expressed interest in launching a yet-to-be-announced solar energy project in the Kingdom, according to the Jordan Investment Board.

During a visit to Jordan on Monday, a Trina Solar delegation unveiled that the firm, which specialises in photovoltaic technology, is currently in negotiations with the Ministry of Energy over a $200 million project, which would be one of the first commercial solar energy initiatives in Jordan.

The Chinese company is the latest international firm to express interest in the Kingdom’s renewable energy sector in the months since the passage of the country’s Renewable Energy Law.

The legislation, drafted in 2009 and passed by Parliament in May this year, clears the way for investment in renewable energy projects, enables the energy ministry to enter direct negotiations with firms and provides tax incentives for alternative energy projects.

Following the law’s passage, some 64 local and international firms came forward with various proposals for wind and solar energy projects, a list the ministry narrowed down to 32 last month.

Energy officials have entered negotiations with 20 of the firms to establish a series of small- to medium-scale solar and wind power plants ranging from 10 to 80 megawatts.

The drive for renewable energy comes amid ongoing disruptions in Egyptian gas supplies, which currently stand at 10 per cent of the 300 million cubic feet required by the country’s power plants.

Officials have highlighted renewable energy as one of the keys to securing Jordan’s energy independence, with the National Energy Strategy calling for renewable resources to account for 10 per cent of the country’s energy mix by 2020.

However, due to the delay in the Renewable Energy Law and a focus on nuclear power, industry observers and officials concede that Jordan is likely to miss the 2020 target.