EBRD approves $500m for Egyptian solar

The bank has approved a framework to finance 16 solar projects totalling 750MW in capacity, part of the 1.8GW Benban solar park.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has approved a $500 million framework to finance renewable projects in Egypt, which the country hopes will help tackle its power deficit.

The funding will support 16 solar projects developed by the private sector under the government’s feed-in tariff programme. That scheme looked to deploy 4.3GW in solar and wind capacity by the end of this year.

“We have been working with the Egyptian authorities since 2014 to help them fulfil their ambitious goals in this area,” EBRD head of power and energy Harry Boyd-Carpenter said. “We are delighted now to be in a position to commit very significant financing to projects, which we expect to start construction before the end of 2017.”

The 16 plants, which will deliver 750MW of solar capacity, will be built on the $3.5 billion 1.8GW Benban solar park, located in the Aswan governorate in southern Egypt. The EBRD has approved financing for 13 of the projects, with approval for the final three expected later this month.

Looking to meet rising power demands, Egypt has turned increasingly towards renewables in recent years. In 2014, the government launched its feed-in tariff scheme, which offers long-term power purchase agreements (20 years for wind, 25 years for solar) under a price guarantee. Egypt aims to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.