SESAME’s New Solar Power Plant Fulfills its Energy Needs

Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) celebrated the formal inauguration ceremony of its solar power plant on February 26th, 2019.

SESAME’s solar plant. (Image credit: CERN)

As this solar power plant is built close to Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), situated about 30 km from SESAME, it is possible to supply enough electric power using an on-grid photovoltaic system with a total power capacity of 6.48 MW, thereby fulfilling SESAME’s needs for many years.

SESAME is currently the first synchrotron light facility in the Middle East and the world’s first large accelerator complex to be completely powered by renewable energy as a result of this solar power plant.

As in the case of all accelerators, SESAME is in dire need of energy, and as the number of its users increases so will its electricity bill. Given the very high cost of electricity in Jordan, with this solar power plant the Centre becomes sustainable.

Khaled Toukan, Director, SESAME.

This power plant uses monocrystalline solar panels and was built by Kawar Energy, a Jordanian company, under the supervision of Consolidated Consultants Group, a consultancy firm that represents the owner SESAME. The wheeling mechanism developed by Jordan Electric Power Company (JEPCO) will be used to transfer the power from this solar power plant to the grid. The transferred power will be credited to the SESAME.

In late 2016, the solar power plant received requisite funding through the Ministry of Energy of the Government of Jordan, which liberally agreed to grant JD 5 million (US$7.05 million) from funds contributed by the European Union (EU) to support the use of clean energy sources.

Sirpa Tulla, Head of the EU Delegation to Jordan, was pleased by the good use of the EU’s funds by Jordan and reminded that his organization stood firmly behind SESAME.

Rolf Heuer, President of the SESAME Council, thanked the EU and the Jordanian Authorities for their continuous support and liberality. He also encouraged other accelerator laboratories to consider SESAME as their role model.

In July 2018, SESAME threw its doors open for users. From that time, its facilities have been used by 23 user groups. It received 103 applications as a result of a second call for beam time on its X-ray absorption fine structure/X-ray fluorescence (XAFS/XRF) spectroscopy and infrared (IR) spectromicroscopy beamlines, which were issued in September 2018.

This is a huge number by any norms and is a clear sign of the key need for a synchrotron light source in this region. Currently, four new beamlines are under construction by the center, namely, Macromolecular Crystallography (MX), Materials Science (MS), BEAmline for Tomography at SESAME (BEATS), and a soft X-ray beamline.


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