Egypt keeps up the pace with 5GW of solar project deals

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The recent momentum Egypt has seen building behind its efforts to adopt clean energy technologies has gathered pace with the signing of outline deals for over 5GW of solar projects.

Two international consortia have signed agreements to build respectively 3 and 2GW of PV projects over the next five years, while Norway’s Scatec Solar has reached a land deal that it says will enable it to press ahead with its first 50MW project in the country.

The deal with one of the two consortia could also see the construction of module and inverter factories to serve Egypt’s burgeoning PV market.

Scatec Solar is one of a number of companies that recently successfully bid under Egypt’s feed-in tariff programme for solar and wind projects.

The company said that over the weekend it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority enabling it to secure the necessary land for its first 50MW project.

“Scatec Solar is impressed by the determination of the government of Egypt to address the energy challenges by inviting experienced solar companies to rapidly build up large-scale solar PV capacity in the country. Together with our finance partners we target to develop, build, own and operate 150-200 MW of new solar power plants in Egypt over the next two-three years, investing more than US$300 million,” said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.

Scatec Solar is already active in nearby Jordan, where it is building three projects totalling 43MW. In Egypt, in addition to the FiT programme, Scatec is shortlisted to participate in the country's tender programme for 200MW in Kom-Ombo, the company said.

“Solar has the potential to become a huge new source of power in Egypt,” said Carlsen. “Experience shows that such a programme also can become a much-needed boost to employment, skills development as well as industrial and social development in Egypt”

Meanwhile, Canadian developer SkyPower, and a consortium comprising a Bahrain-headquartered German firm, Terra Sola, and Swiss investor, Terra Nex, have both also signed MOUs for PV projects totalling 5GW in Egypt.

Further details on the 3GW SkyPower deal were unavailable at the time of press, but an Egyptian government news portal reported that the deal had been signed at the Egypt Economic Development Conference that took place in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh over the weekend.

This was also the setting for the 2GW Terra Sola deal. Under this agreement, the consortium has committed to invest US$3.5 billion in building 2GW of solar in Egypt on a build-own-operate basis. These projects will be separate from those qualifying for the feed-in tariff.

Its pledge also includes proposals to invest in building a 200MW module factory and an inverter factory in Egypt to supply equipment for the consortium’s projects.

A spokesman for the company said: “By building the factories in Egypt, we plan to tap into the country’s robust pipeline of solar projects thereby augmenting the local content used and maximizing on the numbers of jobs created and sustained.”

Earlier this month, German consultancy Apricum said Egypt had made its way on to the “hot list” of global renewable energy markets and could see a 3GW solar market by 2020.

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