Solar developers flocking to Egypt

Foreign investment in Egypt’s burgeoning solar sector is ramping up with a slew of international companies announcing, financing, developing and building projects in the country.

In its recently published report, Egypt’s Solar Energy Market: FiT Program and Beyond 2015, the Egypt Solar Industry Association (Egypt-SIA) has listed eight major current projects in various stages of development. Among them, Saudi Arabian business conglomerate Fawaz Alhokair Group plans to invest $3.5 billion to develop 2 GW of solar power capacity across the country. The Terra Sola Consortium likewise plans to invest the same amount to also build 2 GW of PV plants in Egypt.

On a smaller scale, Abu Dhabi-based solar PV developer Enviromena has already completed a 10 MW solar PV power plant in the historic oasis town of Siwa, one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements. Inaugurated in March, the project was financed by a $25 million grant from the United Arab Emirates government and carried out in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar.

Access Infra Africa, founded by UAE-based Access Power and France’s EREN De?veloppement, is planning to invest between $350 and $400 million in new and renewable energy projects in Egypt in the next two to three years. In its first phase of projects, Access Infra plans to build 200 MW of solar capacity (and 100 MW of wind). The group is looking to invest between $100 and $150 million a year in Egypt over a five-year period.

The Terra Sola Consortium, comprising Bahrain-based Terra Sola and Swiss wealth management company Terra Nex, have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to develop a large-scale solar power project. The consortium plans to invest $3.5 billion in building 2 GW of PV power plants on a build-own-operate-transfer basis across the country. The plan includes the construction of a 200 MW PV module manufacturing facility and an inverter fab to be used for the consortium’s own solar plants. Terra Solar has also bid and prequalified for a PV project in Kom Ombo, Aswan.

Fawaz Alhokair Group and its subsidiary FAS Energy have signed a land accessibility deal with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) to build a 50 MW PV plant under the country’s feed-in tariff scheme. They have also signed an MOU with EETC, NREA and the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy to develop 2 GW of solar power capacity across Egypt with an investment of $3.5 billion.

Saudi group ACWA Power and Masdar have signed an agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to develop 1.5 GW of solar (and 500 MW of wind) energy capacity. The companies are expected to start with a 200 MW PV power plant.

Fellow Saudi company Shaheen Group is looking to invest $65.6 million in Egypt’s new and renewable energy sector as the first phase of a larger investment plan in the country. Shaheen’s solar projects include a 50 MW grid-connected solar station in the New Valley (Wadi El Gedid).

Other projects under development in Egypt include Jordan-based Philadelphia Solar’s FiT-backed 50 MW PV power plant in Binban and Yemen’s Hayel Saeed Anam Group planned $4 million solar panel fab.

Canada’s SkyPower Global and Abu Dhabi group International Gulf Development (IGD) also signed a major agreement with the government at the recent Egypt Economic Development Conference to develop 3 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects over the next four years. Norway’s Scatec Solar also recently announced plans to invest $300 million to develop between 150 MW and 200 MW of new solar PV projects in Egypt in the next two to three years.