American University of Beirut

Students visit Jordan’s renewable energy sites in Pro-Green technical training trip

​Sally Abou Melhem <> Office of Communications

A group of 10 students from the Pro-Green program and AUB Energy Studies program under the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA), in addition to four AUB faculty and staff members, participated in a five-day technical training trip to Jordan, one of the countries in the Middle East with a large potential for generating power from renewable energy. 

The trip, which provided students the opportunity to view development and energy sites first hand, was co-organized by the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources​, the Green Technologies Program, and the Energy Studies Program at AUB, along with the University of Jordan. It included site visits to Al Zaytoonah University and other renewable energy sites. This was the third Pro-Green technical training trip to take place. The first was to Sweden and Italy in February 2016, and the second to the UAE in 2018.

“The Pro-Green technical trip provided me with insight into actual applications in the green industry.  I was introduced to some of the newest technologies by experts in the field“, said Pro-Green energy specialization student Christelle Kheir, commenting on her experience this year.

In Amman, the trip included a visit to Al Zaytoonah University, an advanced university in the field of renewable energy, which has progressed significantly in terms of solar energy and wind energy. The university also has a green energy garden on campus, and provides electricity to the national grid. The participants then visited the solar panels at Al Quds College’s car park, which is the largest of its kind in Jordan, with the highest efficiency photovoltaic (PV) modules in the world at 20.3%. The car park has 4230 installed PV panels with an annual capacity of 1,652,040 GWh. This was followed by a visit to the Philadelphia Solar factory where the students enjoyed watching the automation of solar panel creation. Philadelphia Solar is the only MEA-based company to manufacture, develop, design, construct, own, and operate utility-scale, commercial, and industrial photovoltaic plants.

In Al Rajef, Ma’an, and Tafila, the trip included visits to the Al Rajef Wind Farm, Shams Ma’an Solar Power Plant, and Tafila Wind Farm. Al Rajef Wind Farm is an 86.1 MW project located in southern Jordan, approximately 42 km northwest of the city of Ma’an. The $186.4 million project is the first major wind project to be developed in Jordan under its new renewable energy program, which will produce enough energy to power around 60,000 homes in Jordan. The delegation was impressed with the exceptional knowledge and expertise in producing and maintaining the wind farm. 

The Ma’an Development Area includes nine solar farms, one of which produces 160 MW of photovoltaic power and, as of 2018, is the second largest solar power plant in the region that produces 1% of Jordan’s total electrical energy production. Students visited two solar fields each with unique features, one with directional panels and the other with thin-film solar panels. The 117 MW Tafila Wind Farm is the first commercial utility-scale wind power project in the Middle East and has increased the country’s total power capacity by 3%. Tafila Wind Farm, being one of the first of its kind, helped pave the way for companies to establish the production of green energy in Jordan. 

“The Pro-Green technical training trips have become a permanent feature of the student’s learning experience in energy related programs given the positive feedback from students and faculty. Last year’s trip to the UAE’s sustainable cities and this year’s trip targeted similar innovative projects in Jordan that offered the students a hands-on approach”, said Dr. Nesreen Ghaddar, director of the Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources.

The Pro-Green program is an online professional joint diploma in green technologies. It is jointly offered by AUB, the Lebanese American University (LAU), and the American University in Cairo (AUC). The program helps university students and working professionals in fields related to natural sciences, engineering, and architecture further develop skills and compete in the green energy market, through providing them with the option to take courses with a focus on renewable energies, green buildings, and water resources at any of the three partner universities.

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