The US$76 million Mafraq 1 solar power plant, one of four solar schemes approved by the Jordanese government in the second round of its solar independent power producer initiative, has attained financial closure. The 50MW solar photovoltaic plant near Al Mafraq, 80km north of Amman, will be the country’s first utility-scale solar plant of this size.

The project is one of several initiatives to help the country increase its renewable energy capacity and reduce its reliance on costly hydrocarbon imports, with a target of developing 1,600MW of renewable energy by 2020.

When it becomes operational, Mafraq I is expected to reduce Jordan’s carbon footprint by displacing over 80,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of removing 17,000 cars from the country’s roads. The project will also open new employment opportunities.

The project attained financial closure with the help of UK civil engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald, which has previous experience with solar projects in the country. The consultancy will now monitor construction and operations in an ongoing role.

Viktor Lempesis, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “This project is a great achievement for Jordan, boosting renewable energy investments in the oil-importing country.”

Mafraq I is expected to be connected to the grid in the second quarter of 2018.