Agreements finalised for 200 MW Egyptian solar PV plant

7th April 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

Saudi-based power generation and desalinated water plant developer, investor and operator Acwa Power has finalised the project agreements for the 200 MW Kom Ombo solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, in Egypt.

Construction of the plant is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

The signing of the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), network connection contract and usufruct agreement was conducted through a virtual ceremony held with senior government officials and representatives from the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and Acwa Power.

The agreements were signed by EETC chairperson Sabah Mashaly, NREA chairperson Dr Mohamed Al-KHayat, Acwa Power chief portfolio management officer and acting CIO Rajit Nanda and Acwa Power Egypt country development director Hassan Amin.

Financial closure of Kom Ombo PV is scheduled for the third quarter of this year, following the obtaining of a $40-million senior debt financing and a $14-million equity bridge loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

This is in addition to a $27.2-million loan from the African Development Bank to finance the construction, development and design of the solar project.

The government guarantee for the project was signed in January between Acwa Power and Egypt Finance Minister Mohamed Maait.

Kom Ombo PV is part of Acwa Power’s established energy portfolio and record in Egypt, which currently includes three solar PV projects located in the Aswan province (Benban 1, Benban 2 and Benban 3) with an aggregate capacity of 120 MW, as well as the 2 250 MW Dairut-Luxor combined-cycle gas turbine independent power producer in the Luxor Governorate.

Egypt Electricity and Renewable Energy Minister Dr Mohamed Shaker El Markabi says Egypt is home to a wide range of untapped renewable resources, particularly wind and solar energy. “The electrical capacities that can be generated from renewable sources can reach up to nearly 90 GW.”

In line with Egypt’s Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy, he says the aim is to produce 42% of Egypt’s electricity using renewable sources by 2035.

“Currently, necessary studies are being conducted to increase this percentage, stressing on [increasing] the use of renewable energy in many areas, including water desalination and green hydrogen production.

Nanda says that finalising the project agreements for Kom Ombo PV, marks a significant milestone towards fulfilment of the project.

“The tariff is the lowest in the African continent for a project that is soon to achieve financial close and commence construction, which demonstrates that globally-competitive tariffs are possible in North Africa and the wider African region.”

Kom Ombo PV will be one of the largest privately operated utility-scale solar plants in Egypt and will support the country in increasing its renewable energy capacity in line with the national targets to generate 22% of Egypt’s power from renewables by 2022 and 42% by 2035.