Asian Bank providing US$210 million for 490MW of Egyptian solar

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The 1.8GW Benban park is on open desert land around 15 km west of the Nile River. Credit: Getty

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will provide US$210 million in debt financing for 11 solar PV projects in Egypt with an aggregate capacity of 490MW(AC).

Various projects located in Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Agency’s (NREA) 1.8GW Benban solar park will be co-financed by AIIB and the International Financial Corporation (IFC). These projects are also attracting additional lenders from the private sector and bilateral financial institutions.

The 37.5 km2 Benban park, on open desert land around 15 km west of the Nile River, is comprised of 39 separate PV plots.

The projects financed by AIIB include 9x 50MWAC solar plants and 2x 20MWAC plants with power generated to be sold to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Project developers and sponsors include TAQA Arabia, Shapoorji Pallonji, Phoenix Power, Infinity Solar, Ib Vogt, Cedrus Enterprises, Al Tawakol Electrical, Enerray, Desert Technologies Industries, Spectrum International for Renewable Energy, Al Bilal Group, Tech Project Development Group, SECI Energia, Alcazar Energy, Nile Capital, Enerpal, Enara Bahrain, TBEA Xinjiang SunOasis, and Acciona Energía.

The deadline for the developers to reach financial close is 29 October 2017.

“Investing in clean, renewable energy is a big part of our strategy to promote a sustainable and low-carbon future for Asia,” said D.J. Pandian, vice president and chief investment officer, AIIB. “We are supporting this project because it contributes to Egypt’s renewable energy capacity, and it will help position the country as a regional energy hub, which will have economic benefits for the entire region.”

The first round of a feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme for renewable energy organized by the Egyptian Government ended in October 2016. In September 2016, the government authorized Round 2 of the FiT scheme, targeting a total of 1.3GWAC.

In May, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and French financial company Proparco said they had provided US$116 million in financing for the construction and operation of two 50MW PV projects by EREN Renewable Energy and Access Power also in the giant Benban complex. These are also the first projects under the EBRD’s new US$500 million framework for renewable energy in Egypt, which is expected to help finance 16 projects and provide 750MW of capacity upon completion.

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