The Benban Solar Park shines Egypt’s renewable energy targets

Egypt possesses an abundance of land, sunny weather and high wind speeds, making it a prime location for renewable energy sources.

The Renewable Energy Strategy of 2008 set a target of reaching 20% of total electrical energy mix from renewable energy by 2022. The Strategy identifies concrete steps, including large pilot implementation of grid-connected solar projects and electrification of rural areas.

The first important step to help Egypt to achieve its goal is represented by the Benban Solar Park, a photovoltaic power station under construction with a planned total capacity of 1,8 GWp. The Benban complex, located in the eastern region of the Sahara Desert, 40 km northwest of Aswan, covers an area of 37.2 km2 and is subdivided into 41 separate plots arranged in 4 rows.

Once completed the Benban Solar Park will be set to produce approximately 3,8 TWh of solar power by mid-2019, enough to provide cost-effective and clean power to over 350,000 residents in the country. The project is expected to abate up to 100,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent per annum, supporting Egypt’s emission reduction targets under the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as promoting sustainable energy development and private sector participation in the country’s energy landscape.

The 41 projects on the Benban Site will be connected to the Egyptian high voltage network through four new substations, which will be constructed on the site by Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).

The Benban Solar Park is a part of Egypt’s Tariff program, which is a major initiative to influence private sector capital and expertise, in order to support the goal of generating 20% electricity from renewable resources by 2022. The project has received no incentives. Still, it has signed a 25-year contract with the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), who will buy its electricity at a rate of 8.4¢/kWh, pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.

The Benban Solar Park is being financed by a number of global funding agencies and banks, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as major stakeholders, and others like Africa Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Arab Bank of Bahrain, CDC of the United Kingdom, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, ICBC, OeEB of Austria, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), making it the largest private-sector financing package for a solar photovoltaic facility in the Middle East and North Africa.

Currently, about 38 local and international developers have received financing – representing at least 1.6 GW of solar power for a total value of $1.8 billion.

Once constructed, Benban will be the world’s largest solar PV park, at an estimated total cost of between $3.5 and $4 billion.

Enerray has invested and developed three photovoltaic plants part of the Benban Solar Park, for which it is also the EPC and O&M contractor. Discover more>

Watch IFC’s Video of the Benban Solar Park:


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