REC, O Capital partner on solar development in Middle East, Africa

PV manufacturer REC is teaming up with O Capital, an energy sector subsidiary of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT), on wide-ranging solar power development activities in Egypt as well as in the Middle East and Africa.

The strategic venture will combine REC’s high performing solar panels and expertise in solar power turn-key solutions with O Capital’s access to the promising local and regional solar markets and its strong position in Egypt’s infrastructure sector, the companies said on Thursday. Specifically, O Capital will manage tender processes for solar installations in the residential, commercial and utility segments and provide relevant local expertise and resources for the turn-key installations, while REC will add its engineering know-how and technology.

The partnership is seen as part of REC’s efforts to broaden its reach in the region as it expands internationally. The Norway-based, Chinese-owned company with operational headquarters in Singapore is looking to drive its business around the world by establishing local sales offices and cooperating with international partners.

As part of its alliance with O Capital, REC said it would offer its “vast knowledge on best-practice in EPC and O&M through on-the-job training and workshops to help get new solar projects in the region up and running effectively and reliably.”

REC’s recent projects in the region include one of the world’s largest solar test facilities in Dubai and the first privately financed large commercial rooftop installation in Dubai’s free zone. REC’s solar panels have also been installed on the rooftop of a terminal at Dubai International Airport. The company has further projects in the pipeline and expects an increase in business through its new pact with O Capital.

Backed by its parent company, O Capital was founded earlier this year to execute renewable energy projects as part of OTMT’s new portfolio. O Capital affiliate O Capital for Energy was one of the first companies to secure a temporary license to build and operate a 50 MW solar power plant within Egypt’s feed-in tariff program.

Luc Graré, REC’s senior vice president of EMEA, said, “The new cooperation gives us greater access to new tenders and customers in Egypt and other countries in the region offering amazing growth opportunities for solar energy. We expect the Middle East and Africa to become the second-largest region worldwide by 2017 in terms of new solar capacity added annually.”

Graré added that Egypt’s government “clearly understands the importance of power security for households and corporations and the economic potential solar is presenting as one of the fastest growing industries.”

Egypt is aiming to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from 1% currently. The country’s installed capacity is expected to top 2.5 GW by that time. Saudi Arabia has similar goals, targeting 41 GW of renewable energy by 2042, or one-third of its power needs. Dubai, Morocco and Tunisia have also set high targets.

“This cooperation is a vital step in accomplishing OTMT’s strategy to expand its business into the renewable energy sector,” said Tamer El Mahdi, O Capital chairman and OTMT’s deputy CEO. “OTMT’s strong local management and strong financial position together with REC’s strong and sustainable track record will enable this new alliance to dominate this growing market in Egypt and the region.”