Acwa to develop $190m solar projects in Egypt

16 January 2018

Saudi-based Acwa Power, a major developer, investor and operator of a portfolio of power generation and water desalination plants, has reached financial close of three solar photovoltaic (PV) projects under Round 2 of Egypt's Feed-in tariff programme II.

As per the deal, Acwa Power will finance, build, own and operate the three projects with an aggregate capacity of 165.5 MWp. The work on all the projects will start in the first quarter.

The projects, which are being developed in the Aswan Province at Benban, will have a capacity of 67.5 MWp, 70 MWp and 28 MWp respectively. They are being built at a total cost of $190 million.

Once operational in the fourth quarter, the new installed capacity will power 80,000 houses and result in savings of 156,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.

The feed-in tariff programme, initiated by the Egyptian government and the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MoERE), have set a target to secure an initial generation of 2,000 MW of solar capacity and 2,000 MW of wind capacity.

Paddy Padmanathan, the president and chief executive of Acwa Power, said: "We are very excited that our first projects in Egypt have not only achieved financial close but are three photovoltaic power plants supporting the Egyptian government in its pursuit of securing 20 per cent of renewable energy in the power generation mix by year 2022."

The company is partnering with the Chinese company Chint and Egyptian groups Tawakol and Hassan Allam Holding on the project.

It is also pursuing a number of other opportunities to consolidate its presence and support the Egyptian market, notably Dairut 2,250 MW CCGT project and a pipeline of over 500 MW wind projects, 1 GW of PV projects and 100 MW of CSP projects.

Rajit Nanda, the chief investment officer, said: "Achieving financial close for these projects is a significant milestone – not just for these projects, but as our first projects they establish the foundation for many more opportunities that Acwa Power is pursuing with the Ministry of Electricity."

"We identified Egypt as an investment destination worthy of pursuit in 2009 and subsequently established a local company Acwa Power Egypt in 2015," he stated.

"The successful financial close of these projects is a harbinger of change in the deployment of power generation capacity, and reinforces our belief in the potential that exists in the country," he added.