- FC has approved $635 million in financing for the development of the Benban Solar Development Complex in Aswan, Egypt
- The investment will support construction, operation and maintenance of 500 MW of solar power capacity at 11 PV plants
- It is one of the largest private foreign direct investments in the Egypt’s power sector in recent years
- With the IFC getting involved, it hopes to mobilize private investment needed to build the 1.8 GW park
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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will be investing $635 million in the development of 500 MW solar power capacity in Egypt. The money will be used for the construction, operation and maintenance of 11 solar power plants in Benban region of the country.
IFC said its support will be one of the largest private foreign direct investments in the country’s power sector in recent years. This will help mobilize private investment to build the park. The Benban solar complex is planned to have a cumulative solar power capacity of 1.8 GW on completion.
“This landmark investment demonstrates that when you have the right reform policies, and a government willing to allow greater involvement by the private sector, you can attract investors in every sector, including infrastructure,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Investments like these are the nucleus for economic growth, which is needed in Egypt.”
The Benban project belongs to the country’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, which is heavily delayed. Egypt had unveiled its FiT program in 2014 with plans to install 2.3 GW of solar by 2017. Out of this, 2 GW were planned to be set up as central power plant capacity with the remaining 300 MW as distributed PV systems smaller than 500 kW. But as global module prices were falling, Egyptian authorities modified the rules and launched a second round with lower tariffs, upsetting many of the participants in the first round.
However, the EBRD and IFC support is a big step toward realizing the Benban project, even if later than planned. The program also has projects financed by EBRD and Proparco from France. Egypt is targeting 4 GW of solar and wind power capacity under its FIT program.
In March 2017, Infinity Solar was the first to achieve financial closure for a 64.1 MW PV plant in Benban Solar Development Compex, which it is developing in partnership with two German companies. This project is part of the first round of FIT program of Egypt (see Financial Closure For 64.1 MW PV Plant In Egypt).