The region’s climate, developing economies and demographic growth are driving increased electricity demand in the Middle East and North Africa. However, as a hub of conventional energy supply, the region has been slow to embrace PV. To capture more of the value chain and deliver the full potential of solar, there are increasing calls for distributed generation deployment to play a bigger role.
Two Emirati developers are celebrating landmark deals with a commercial and industrial focus as Yellow Door Energy secures $65 million to expand operations into new markets and Adenium – one of Yellow Door’s backers – prepares to operate the region’s first industrial self-consumption and net metering project.
The 30 MW plant was developed by a consortium led by Infinity Solar Energy SAE – an Egyptian developer operating in Africa and the Middle East – with Germay’s ib vogt, investment vehicle MMID and private equity firm BPE Partners.
Alcazar Energy has announced the start of commercial operation for a project at Benban, in Egypt. Alcazar says it is the first of more than 30 planned projects in the second round of the mammoth solar park to achieve grid connection, and one of four similar sized projects the company is working on at the site.
The global market stagnated last year, with around 98 GW deployed. For 2019, the experts expect stronger solar growth, provided there are no setbacks in China.
The 25-year agreement relates to a 6 MW solar plant that will meet up to 4% of the electricity demand of a facility owned by the Arabian Cement Company, in Egypt’s Suez governorate. The project is being financed by local bank QNB AlAhli under the EBRD’s Green Economy Program.
In its report, Renewable Energy Outlook: Egypt, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) envisages a scenario in which solar becomes the second largest energy source in the country, after gas. If current plans and RE strategies are maintained, however, just 9 GW will be installed by 2030, compared 44 GW. The agency recommends a series of actions to achieve a 2030 renewable energy target of 52%.
The realization of Egypt’s 1.8 GW Benban solar complex has posed a long series of challenges to its numerous developers. The creation of the Benban Solar Developers Association (BSDA) has helped move the project forward amid initial grid constraints and several logistical issues, among others. Although only one of the 33 projects has now reached completion, all are set to be grid-connected by June 2019 – the final deadline set by the Egyptian government, according to Assem Korayem, a member of the BSDA and the operating general manager at Access-Power Egypt. In a conversation with pv magazine, he provides an extensive update on the current status of the huge PV complex.
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