ABB helps integrate solar energy into Jordan’s power grid

2016-01-19 - ABB will supply a substation for the Shams Ma’an photovoltaic project, the largest of its kind in Jordan and a significant project in the Middle East. It will help the country reach renewable targets of 10 percent of its energy mix by 2020.

It will use over 680,000 solar panels spread over two million cubic meters, and is set to produce 160 gigawatt-hours/year, equivalent to one percent of Jordan’s power production: The 52.5-megawatt (MW) Shams Ma’an project will be one of the largest photovoltaic facilities in the Middle East when it is completed in 2016. Located in the southern region of the country, the new plant will reduce Jordan’s reliance on imported oil and gas, and is one of the first renewable energy projects and the largest of its kind in Jordan.

As such, the plant will be an important component in the country’s strategic diversification of its generation portfolio, which is intended to boost energy security. Jordan’s annual daily average solar irradiance is among the world’s highest, and the country’s National Energy Strategy includes ambitious targets to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources such as solar to the national energy supply. The share of renewable energy in the total energy mix is anticipated to reach 10 percent by 2020.

First Solar, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the plant, has commissioned ABB to build a substation that will integrate the solar energy into the grid. As part of the project scope, ABB will engineer, manufacture and supply the 33-kilovolt (kV) interconnection facility with the grid in a prefabricated electrical center (PEC). This will include the 33kV gas-insulated switchgear, substation automation, control and protection systems, 33kV capacitor banks and ancillary equipment to ensure proper interfacing with the remote-end utility substation, which was also supplied by ABB last year. In addition, ABB will supply a two-megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAR) static compensator (STATCOM) including coupling transformer. Installing a STATCOM in a grid will increase power transfer capability by enhancing voltage stability and maintaining a smooth voltage profile under different network conditions. The STATCOM also enables improvements in power quality. This will be the first ABB STATCOM to be installed in Jordan.

This is not the only solar power plant in the Middle East in which ABB is contributing its technology to support integration of renewables, in line with the company’s Next Level strategy. ABB previously won substation orders to integrate 200 MW from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park phase II into the grid in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This solar park is expected to produce 3,000 MW of clean energy when completed in 2030 – making it one of the biggest renewable energy projects in the Middle East and North Africa.

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