Egypt signs deals for 220 MW of solar

Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has signed seven binding memoranda of understanding (MOUs) totaling 320 MW of solar and wind projects worth some $500 million under the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program.

The country is looking to install 4.3 GW of wind and solar power by 2017, including 2.3 GW of solar (2 GW of large-scale and 300 MW of small scale under 500 kW) and 2 GW of wind.

The ministry signed the agreements during last week’s Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) Trade Mission in Cairo, which took place April 27-28. The forum brought together 150 local and international investors and project developers to explore investment opportunities in Egypt’s solar and wind sector.

The MOUs included five agreements for solar projects totaling 220 MW and two wind projects consisting of 100 MW. All seven projects are located on government land, with solar projects to be located in Binban and Aswan and wind farms in Zafarana on the Gulf of Suez.

UAE group Access, which last week announced plans for a 65 MW solar project as well as a 50 MW wind farm, has so far secured a 50 MW PV installation, according to the MESIA.

In addition, Egyptian group Orascom Construction (OCI) and Saudi company Alfanar are each building 50 MW solar installations as well as 50 MW wind farms, while Egyptian firms Sun Infinite and Gila Al Tawakol Electrical will construct 50 MW and 20 MW solar projects, respectively.

During the Egypt Economic Conference in March, the government signed four similar solar MOUs — including major deals with Canadian solar giant SkyPower Global and Jordan’s Philadelphia Solar — bringing the total number of solar projects in Binban to nine. The government has allotted 36 plots of public land in Binban for solar projects, 25% of which have now been slated for specific projects.

"These MOUs reflects the willingness of local and international companies to be active partners in the sustainable energy future of Egypt,” said Mohamed El Sobki, executive chairman of Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA). “We are confident that the remaining plots will be scooped up soon.”

Vahid Fotuhi, president and founder of MESIA, added that the association would continue to support Egypt’s efforts to establish one of the largest and fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world.