Published: 2018-02-27 17:08
Last Updated: 2018-02-27 18:34
The year 2019 is looking very bright for Egypt, as it is about to construct the world’s largest solar park.
Benban Solar Park, near the southern city of Aswan, is expected to generate an estimated 1.6 to 2.0 GW of solar power, producing 20% of the country’s power through renewable energy by 2020.
With its 32 individual plants on a 37.2 square kilometer area, the complex will serve 350,000 Egyptians as a more cost-efficient and eco-friendly source of power, according to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The park will also transform Egypt into a major solar energy player in the region and the world.
Lamya Youssef, the head of private sector power at the state-run Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), told the IFC website:
“The potential is endless. Because of the enormous increase in [Egypt’s] population, we need large investments in infrastructure, which the government cannot afford on its own. That’s why we need private sector investments.”
The CEO of IFC, Philippe Le Houérou, said in a press release that “Egypt’s reforms in its energy sector opened the door to private sector investments. For the Benban Solar Park project, those reforms and our innovative financial tools have helped attract a number of investors and financiers into the country for the first time.”
It is expected for the project to cost between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, depending mainly on investments, according to a report by the NREA.
A consortium of 10 banks, has already chipped in $653 million for 13 out of the 32 plants.
The banks are the Africa Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Arab Bank of Bahrain, CDC of the United Kingdom, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, ICBC and OeEB of Austria, according to Forbes Middle East.
The project will receive a 25-year-contract in order to sell its electricity at 7.8¢/kWh to the EETC.
The park, set to be operational by mid-2019, will provide 10,000 jobs at the site.