Egypt has invited “pre-qualification submissions” from independent power producers (IPPs) for solar projects of up to 50MW capacity, following the September announcement of the country’s first feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.

PV Tech has learned that the Egyptian Electric Holding Company (EEHC), part of the Ministry for Electricity and Energy, has set a deadline for midday on the 26 November for IPPs to submit their proposed projects. Although capacity is in theory capped at 50MW per project, there has been a suggestion that proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

International law firm Eversheds revealed details of the news yesterday in a briefing email. According to partner Michelle T Davies, who heads the clean energy and sustainability group at Eversheds, the law firm was advised of the development by Vahid Fotuhi, president and founder of the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). Fotuhi later told PV Tech that developers have shown "huge interest" in this tender round.

Project submissions will be received in two categories. A small scale category for PV systems up to 500kW generation capacity and another category for PV projects of between 500kW and 50MW. Along with the larger PV projects, the process is also open to wind power projects between 20MW and 50MW capacity.

For the smaller projects of under 500kW, developers have been asked to submit a “project dossier” which should include evidence that the proposed installer is certified to carry out the work, a project layout signed by a syndicate engineer, technical specifications, diagrams, a signed contract between the developer and installer and a statement from the developer bearing full responsibility for any contravention of construction regulations. Larger projects will require more comprehensive information to be provided via a set of forms, Eversheds said.

Commenting on the news, Michelle T Davies at Eversheds told PV Tech that the firm was enthusiastic about prospects for solar in Egypt.

“Egypt presents a major opportunity for our clients and we are keen to get a better understanding of the process,” Davies said.

Earlier this year, Egypt’s local and administrative development minister Adel Labib appeared to commit to US$1 billion of investment in solar, while in January a research report from business intelligence firm MEED Insight in conjunction with the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) forecast that investment in solar in the Middle East and North Africa could reach US$50 billion by 2020.

Vahid Fotuhi, president and founder of the Middle East Solar Industry Association, said: "Like Jordan, the shift towards solar is commercially driven. But what differentiates the two is the fact that Egypt is almost 10 times larger. So the opportunity for solar in Egypt is massive.

"The announcements so far are encouraging but there is still lots of work to be done in terms of enabling policies and regulations. If Egypt can adopt the necessary policies we could easily see Egypt becoming the largest solar market in the MENA region over the next three to five years."