MegaCell signs MoU for 120 MW bi-facial cell and module fab in Egypt

Italy’s MegaCell has announced a landmark deal with Cairo investment bank Misr Asset Management to build a 120 MW/year production plant of bi-facial high efficiency solar cells and modules in Egypt.

The $42.5 million memorandum of understanding (MoU) sees MegaCell – a leading producer of bi-facial cells and modules – commit to the completion of the fab, which will be located on a 18,000 square meter site just outside Cairo, in 2015.

The agreement has been prompted by a recent initiative by the Egyptian government to commit to the development of renewable energy projects in the country. Egypt is targeting a reduction of its C02 emissions and fossil fuel consumption, and hopes to establish 2.3 GW of medium- and large-scale PV within the next 24 months.

The government has recently announced a feed-in tariff (FIT) program to generate interest in the development of Egyptian PV. Hassan Abdel Hamid, CEO of Misr Asset Management, called the MoU an important milestone in Egypt’s diversification of its energy source, revealing that "several qualified investors" have expressed a strong interest in the project.

"We are very happy to partner with MegaCell, one of the leading manufacturers in the industry worldwide," Hamid added. "This project [which is scheduled to begin operations in June 2015] will also promote the transfer of technology to Egypt and help to create new jobs in Egypt and Italy."

For MegaCell’s chairman and CEO Franco Traverso, the decision to expand into Egypt was a result of careful market study in the region. "This project will be a key milestone for MegaCell’s development. Through this strategic collaboration, MegaCell aims to rapidly expand its business in North Africa, setting up a vertically integrated PV production cluster in Egypt, starting with this 120 MW fab," Traverso said.

MegaCell will supply all equipment to the plant, as well as transferring the relevant applicable technology from Italy. Misr Asset Management, which has financially backed the project, will collaborate with MegaCell to source interested partners and investors, Traverso revealed.

Currently, MegaCell has a production capacity of around 80 MW annually. The completion of this Egyptian fab will boost that capacity to 200 MW, with the focus chiefly on bi-facial BiSoN cells.