Norwegian developer Scatec Solar (SSO) has started engineering and procurement at two solar project sites in Egypt at Benban and Zafarana.
SSO has signed agreements to provide services for five solar proejcts with a combined capacity of 250MW, which will come under Egpyt’s new FiTs for solar programme.
The firm will be lead developer for one project while acting as strategic investor, EPC and O&M provider in the four others.
The company has initiated the process of raising project finance from banks. However, a company statement said that fund commitments rest on the authorities issuing bankable contractual documents and required permits.
The firm has already completed topography and geotechnical studies and it is currently performing environmental and social impact assessments at the two sites. Weather stations are also being deployed to measure irradiation, heat and soiling losses.
Raymond Carlsen, chief executive of Scatec Solar, said: “Our international experience has taught us the importance of detailed pre-planning for execution of projects so that we can quickly deliver much-needed electricity, once the authorities have issued all the agreements and permits.”
Egpyt is attempting to diversify its energy mix and has invited foreign developers to construct 2.3GW of utility-scale solar plants over the next two years. It also plans to supply 20% of installed capacity from renewable energy by 2022. Building 6GW of solar over the next seven years will also require US$9-10 billion of investment according to SSO.
Referring to Egypt’s solar energy plans, Mohamed El Sobki, chairman of Egypt's New and Renewable Energy Authority (NERA) said the government plans to “adopt new polices and issue the required legislation to attract international participation and investment”.
Scatec plans to invest US$600 million in Egypt’s solar energy programme over the next two years, according to Terje Osmundsen, Scatec Solar senior vice president for business development.
SSO is currently working with other developers to set up a “one stop shop” arrangement to help simplify logistics and avoid bottlenecks during the construction phase of the various solar projects in Egypt.
Scatec Solar has also decided to establish a regional headquarter located in Cairo's Nile City Tower.
This month India-based EPC firm Sterling and Wilson also announced its plans to construct 300MW solar PV projects in Egypt, having recently set up an international office in Cairo.