AIIB enters Egypt with $210m solar debt deal

The multilateral will back 11 solar projects with 490MW aggregate capacity in Egypt’s Benban solar park.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank made its first deal in the Egyptian market, as the bank announced $210 million in debt financing to back 11 solar projects.

The projects, all located in the Benban solar park being built in Egypt’s Aswan governorate, will total 490MW in aggregate capacity, including nine 50MW plants and two 20MW plants. Output generated by the plants will be sold to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company under 25-year power purchase agreements.

“We are supporting this project because it contributes to Egypt’s renewable energy capacity, and it will help position the country as a regional energy hub, which will have economic benefits for the entire region,” said AIIB chief investment officer DJ Pandian.

The AIIB is the latest of several multilaterals to lend support to Egypt’s renewables ambitions, as the country looks to meet 20 percent of its energy needs through clean energy sources by 2022. The International Finance Corporation is investing $635 million in the same 11 projects, the group announced in July. A month earlier, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved a $500 million renewables framework for the country, supporting 16 solar projects at the Benban park, which at 1.8GW would be one of the world’s largest.

Egypt launched its feed-in tariff scheme in 2014, offering long-term power purchase agreements under a price guarantee.