Izzat Marji Sees Big Demand for Solar Power Systems

Solar power system provider Izzat Marji said demand for its products is growing rapidly as homes and small to medium sized businesses finally begin taking advantage of Jordan’s Renewable Energy Law.

Between 2013 and 2014, the Director of Izzat Marji’s Renewable Energy Department Fadi Marji said the total capacity of all the photovoltaic (PV) systems his company sold rose around 900 percent to 3 megawatts. Marji said the Renewable Energy Law, which was endorsed in 2012 and today allows residential and commercial entities to generate 100 percent of their electricity needs using PV systems, was a turning point for the Kingdom’s renewable energy sector.

“2013 was an introductory year for the PV systems business. It was the year we installed our first system. The challenge then was not to speak about the quality and the good engineering but to convince customers that this was indeed possible,” said Marji. “It was a good start but not enough to operate a business. 2013 was a good year, but in 2014 the increase in demand was incredible.”

Marji said his company has so far supplied almost 100 residential and commercial entities with the PV systems, including the Amman Baccalaureate School. He added that he managed to slash his home electricity bills after fitting a PV system. “I used to pay JD450 per month. Then after installing the PV system, my bill dropped to JD5.14, with zero consumption. I am now paying the television and other fees that are automatically added to all electricity bills,” he said.

The utility will allow customers to generate 100 percent of their needs by calculating their average consumption in the past 12 months. If you travel or consume less than the energy you generate, then it gets accumulated and is rolled over to the following months.

But how big should your consumption be for it to be feasible? According to Marji, the payback period depends on your tariff scheme. If your electricity bill is at the higher tariff—over 800 kW—you will have better feasibility and payback period of three to four years. If you consume less than 800 kWh, it will be longer but still feasible. However, small consumption of 300-400 kWh, is still subsidized, which doesn’t make it feasible to install the system.

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Marji expects demand for PV systems to grow in Jordan, but warns grid capacity challenges could hamper the take up rate amongst consumers. “What we need is for the government to invest in infrastructure projects to improve the grid capacity,” Marji said.

He also called on the government to raise what he sees as the meager 70 megawatt limit on how much PV systems can generate across the Kingdom. “To date, 15 megawatts have been installed, and there are more projects in the pipeline,” said Marji. “If we reach 70 megawatts in the near future, then we cannot install anymore and it will mean we could close shop and the 30 people who work in this division in Izzat Marji will lose their jobs.”