CDC Group backs Egyptian solar with $97m investment

CDC was part of a nine-member IFC-led consortium lending $653 million for the 800MW Nubian Suns project.

The UK’s CDC Group is among the latest organisations to back Egypt’s solar sector, investing $97 million in the 800MW Nubian Suns project, in the southern part of the country.

CDC is one of nine international lenders backing a $653 million debt package for the project, which will include 13 solar plants in the 1.8GW Benban solar park. The park, located in Egypt’s Aswan province, will be the world’s largest solar installation once completed.

“Egypt has abundant sun all year round but often struggles with power shortages that limit the country’s economic potential,” said Iain Macaulay, CDC’s head of project finance. “Developing solar energy makes economic and social sense and our investment demonstrates our strong commitment to Egypt’s economic growth and a cleaner environment.”

The International Finance Corporation is leading the consortium of lenders, which also includes the African Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Arab Bank of Bahrain, the UK-based Europe Arab Bank, Germany’s Green for Growth Fund, Finland’s FinnFund, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and OeEB of Austria. Six private power companies will build the plants.

The Benban park, which will comprise 32 solar plants, has received extensive backing from a range of multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Egypt’s renewable sector has seen significant investment since 2014, when the country launched its feed-in tariff scheme. Last month, the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund invested $65.8 million in the sector. Egypt is looking to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.