Egypt’s Luxor makes solar debut, with more to come

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Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and governor of the city of Luxor, Tarek Saad Eddin, inaugurated two solar power plants on Saturday, according to local news reports.

Accompanied by several other ministers attending the opening ceremony, Saad Eddin said another 2MW solar power plant, with an investment of EGP22 million (US$3 million), is being considered to help power Luxor.

The two solar power plants inaugurated on Saturday total 160kW.

The first 80kW solar power plant inaugurated cost EGP3.8 million (US$530,000) and will power lighting for the fine arts building of Luxor University, and the surrounding street lights.  

The second 80kW solar power plant will power the building used as the headquarters of Luxor’s government and the surrounding street lights.

The visit from Mahlab and other politicians is part of a government tour to inspect infrastructure and services across the country.

SaadEddin also said that Luxor’s current annual electricity demand is 60MW, and the solar power plants are part of a transition to renewable energy.

It has also been reported that Luxor, well known for its ancient Egyptian remains, is seeking to improve the local environment to boost and sustain tourism numbers, which have seen a steep decline following political upheaval in Egypt.  

The announcement for solar support comes just after Luxor hosted its international solar power conference: ‘Luxor is a green city’, this June.

The push for solar installations from SaadEddin is in line with the prime minister’s previously stated ambitions to increase research and development of solar energy use in Egypt. Also the local and administrative development minister Adel Labib, was quoted as saying that a giant US$1 billion solar project was in the pipeline.

Egypt has approximately 300,000 people still lacking access to electricity, mainly in rural areas, and faces rising energy demand while relying on oil, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A recent report on solar in the Middle East and North Africa said Egypt was aiming for 1.8GW of solar by 2020 with the county hoping to generate 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

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