Acciona, Swicorp eye Egypt solar project completion

2 March 2019

Saudi company Swicorp said the work on three solar photovoltaic plants being jointly developed by Spanish conglomerate Acciona Group in Egypt is nearing completion with the first plant set to enter commercial service soon.

The facilities, which will be 50 per cent owned by both companies - Enara Bahrain Spv (Enara), the renewable energy platform of Swicorp and Acciona Energía, the renewables subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate - is being built at a cost of  around $180 million.

On completion, these photovoltaic plants, located at the Benban complex set up by the Egyptian Government in the Aswan region, will have a maximum capacity of 186 MWp (150 MW rated). These plants cover a surface area of 2.88 sq km.

The Benban photovoltaic complex covers 37.2 sq km on a site provided by the Egyptian Government through its New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA). It is equipped with the energy evacuation infrastructure required to accommodate 32 privately-owned photovoltaic plants (combined capacity: 1,800 MW).

The construction work has taken place over 11 months with more than 1,000 people working on the sites.

The first plant will enter commercial service in a few days’ time and the two others will do so over the next few weeks, said Acciona chairman and CEO José Manuel Entrecanales and Swicorp chairman Kamel Lazaar after visiting the facilities yesterday (February 27) along with the senior officials of both countries.

With these facilities, Acciona will reach total installed capacity in photovoltaic power of more than 1,000 MWp (633 MWp net), he added.

"It is the first renewables project under our ownership in Egypt, a country that has set itself ambitious objectives in the development of renewable energies. This Beban PV complex –in which our three plants are included- is a great example of it as it will supply energy to more than ten thousand people," remarked Entrecanales.

“We are satisfied at having completed the assembly of the plants, and doing it with our partner Swicorp, with whom we have had a fantastic experience. We are working together on other renewable initiatives in Africa and the Middle East,” he stated.

Lazaar said: "There has been a tremendous synergy with Acciona, with all its technical know-how and its knowledge of the international market, and our knowledge of the local market and financial engineering, so it worked very well for both parties."

The three projects in Benban come under the feed-in tariff system established by the Egyptian Administration in call for tender Round 2 published in October 2016.

Overall, they will produce clean energy equivalent to the consumption of around 150,000 Egyptian homes and avoid the emission of 297,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum from fuel-oil power plants, he stated.

As per the deal, tthe power generated will be supplied to the utility Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) under a long-term PPA contract (25 years) governed by the conditions set in Round 2, said the top official.

Finance for the operation has been agreed with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank body, and with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), both specialized in financing private projects in emerging countries, he added.