Norways Scatec Solar has commenced activities on two sites in Egypt as it prepares the ground for the development of 250 MW of solar PV capacity under the Egyptian governments Renewable Energy program.
Engineering and procurement activity is underway at Benban and Zafarana, including the completion of geotechnical studies and Environment and Social Impact Assessments, as well as the initial installation of two weather stations to measure solar irradiation.
These ground activities are being overseen by Scatec Solars regional HQ, which has been established at Nile City Tower in Cairo as part of the companys strategy to explore further solar opportunities in the MENA region, developing, procuring and maintaining solar farms.
Scatec Solars first success was to win 250 MW of solar project capacity under Egypts FIT program, acting as lead developer in one project and strategic investor, EPC and O&M on four others. Fundraising via banks has already begun, and Scatec Solar has confirmed that it will provide training for hundreds of local workers during the construction and development phase of the projects.
The company is tapping into the growing desire within Egypt to better harness the nations excellent insolation levels for energy use. The Chairman of Egypts New and Renewable Energy Authority (NERA) Mohamed El Sobki has confirmed that the government is proactively seeking international participation and investment in its clean energy sector, to which Scatec Solar SVP for business development Terje Osmundsen has confirmed the company will invest more than $600 million over the next two years.
"The first big PV development in Egypt is a great opportunity for the country and for Scatec Solar," said Scatecs head of Egypt Operations Pål Helsing. "We will deliver on our commitments in the timeline and frameworks set by our stakeholders."
Egypt is targeting the goal of 20% of clean energy in its power mix by 2022. To achieve this, the country aims to install 6 GW of solar PV capacity over that time, with investments of around $9 billion required.
Scatec Solars involvement in the fledgling market will see the company draw on its previous experience gained in the markets of South Africa, Jordan and Honduras, where careful consideration of the local terrain and climate was taken into account during the design stages of each ground-mounted solar plant.
"All our stakeholders the local authorities, consumers, banks and investors want solar plants to perform successfully to deliver electricity and revenue for 20 years," said Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen. "Solid engineering and construction design is vital to ensure that."