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Mandatory solar water heating to save Jordan millions

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Jordan is slated to save millions of dollars by making solar water heating mandatory for new residences.

The new regulations will become effective in April 2013, capitalizing on the country's nearly 330 days of yearly sunshine. In addition to new residences, private homes larger than 250 square meters and office spaces more than 100 square meters must also comply.

The measures are seen as a government attempt to revive the country's interest in renewable energy, in part by offering incentives for investments in solar as well as wind energy projects. The ultimate goal is to have renewable sources account for 10 percent of Jordan's energy mix by 2020.

The regulations will give consumers the opportunity to sell extra solar power (up to 5 MW) back to the natural grid. The surplus will most likely come from homes and businesses that set up solar voltaic panels because solar hot water heaters use thermal energy to heat water, but do not create electricity.

The rate will be set at "current generation costs" by the Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Jordan Electricity Distribution Company.

More than $1.8 million in loans from the Ministry of Energy and the Jordan River Foundation will help secure the necessary equipment.

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