Acting as an independent consultant, the Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin (PI Berlin) has assisted in the acceptance of four photovoltaic power plants with a total capacity of 57 megawatts (MW) in Jordan. The project developer, Adenium Energy Capital, made use of the institute’s expertise to ensure its plants can generate the expected yields and rates of return. This is particularly important given the increasing pressure on price during tendering processes, which means that production losses can significantly impact the project’s viability. In addition to undertaking factory inspections, PI Berlin monitored production, conducted lab tests and performed the final inspection of modules in the field. The renowned institute is due to present its PV power plant services at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi from 16–19 January 2017.
Tendering process intensifies price war
“The price pressure exerted on investors, suppliers and project developers responding to calls for tender for large solar plants has increased enormously – not least because with each new round of tenders the tariff drops significantly,” explains Steven Xuereb, Head of the PV Systems Business Unit at PI Berlin. “This climate makes it all the more important to use high-quality PV modules so that plants can generate their projected yields for the life of the project. We are on hand to assist with PV projects from the outset, protecting the interests of all stakeholders.”
Module quality is more crucial than ever
“It was very important for us to have the quality of our modules tested by experts from the very beginning of the project. Current prices mean that we simply can’t afford to suffer substantial losses due to production defects,” says Ahmed Sari, Vice President of project developer Adenium Energy Capital Ltd. “By drawing on its experts’ in-depth knowledge, PI Berlin has ensured that our modules meet the necessary quality requirements and our four power plants will continue to generate stable outputs for years to come.”
By performing quality checks along the entire supply chain – from production and transportation to installation – it was possible to detect faults in good time and to rectify them immediately. “This enabled us to determine who caused the defect and who is responsible for remedying it. If, on the other hand, module damage is only noticed for the first time when conducting the final inspection in the field, it is often more difficult to ascertain its origin. This is because defects could arise during production, transportation or installation,” explains Xuereb. The solar plants inspected by PI Berlin are located in the renewable energy development areas created by the Jordanian government in Ma’an and Mafraq.
Jordan is the most attractive PV market in the MENA region
The strategy adopted by the Jordanian government of primarily using solar power to cover the nation’s growing energy requirements has turned the country into one of the most attractive markets for photovoltaics in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“Jordan has set specific objectives for invitations to tender for large-scale PV power plants. The awarded projects are actually successfully implemented, which has so far not been the case in other countries,” adds Xuereb. The third round of tenders for PV plants with an overall capacity of 200 MW was announced in November 2016. The first two rounds put a total of 400 MW out to tender.
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