Egypt To Develop 1.4 Gigawatts of Solar Capacity

Egypt’s fledgling solar industry attracted $1.8 billion of investment, largely from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp.

The EBRD is backing 16 photovoltaic projects, and the IFC is financing 13 in the sunny North African nation with a combined capacity of 1.4 gigawatts. They are writing loans for $380 million and $203 million, respectively, and have mobilized the rest from co-investors.

“These are the first private renewable energy projects in Egypt, and it’s not an easy macroeconomic or geopolitical situation,” Harry Boyd-Carpenter, head of power and energy utilities at the London-based development bank, said in a phone interview. “Yet because it’s got the right regulatory framework in place, Egypt has been able to attract all of these different investors and should comfortably get more than a gigawatt of capacity financed this year.”

Egypt is targeting to generate 20 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2022. It currently gets more than 90 percent of its power from oil and gas, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The solar projects that got funding are being developed in the Benban solar park in Egypt’s Aswan province in the southeast. The site is expected to have a capacity of 1.8 gigawatts and cost $2.8 billion by the time it’s complete in the first half of 2019.