Africa50 helps Egypt’s Solar Power Sector take off
A 37-square-kilometer solar park so large that it can be seen from space, with over seven million photovoltaic panels, and funding of $4 billion. In Africa? Impossible? Not anymore.
Thirty international infrastructure developers got behind this project, investing in Egypt’s massive Benban solar park, which will be the largest in the world upon completion. Among the investors is Africa50, established by the African Development Bank
Africa50 is an independent infrastructure fund, focused on high-impact projects mostly in the energy and transport sectors. The investment vehicle contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital and mobilizing private sector funding.
Africa50’s investment in Egypt’s 1.5 GW solar park in the Aswan desert is a prime example.
The solar energy potential in Egypt, a country known for year-round sunny days, has long tempted investors. But the high cost of solar plants led the government to favor climate-warming fossil fuels, accounting for 90% of its power generation.
Now that the prices of its components have fallen, solar energy has become competitive, allowing Benban to become a reality. In 2017, Africa50 joined investors Norfund and Scatec Solar to reach financial close for six of the 32 utility scale solar power plants in the complex, totaling 390 MW.
The Benban project, providing clean energy to hundreds of thousands of households, will help Egypt to reach its target of generating 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2022. It has put Egypt on the map as a major solar player in Africa and has set a precedent for using North Africa’s ample solar resources to provide power while meeting climate change commitments.
The solar power project has also demonstrated Africa50’s ability to act as a bridge between the private sector and governments to deliver more projects more quickly and help narrow Africa’s infrastructure gap.
Africa50 is one of the largest contributors to the Benban park. With a 25% stake, the investment platform contributed equity to fund construction, alongside Scatec Solar and Norfund, which helped leverage total funding of around $450 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Dutch Development Bank FMO, the Green Climate Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector.
Source / More information : African Development Bank Group (AfDB)
Report by: OGP/Segun Cole , Please email us your industry related news for publication [email protected]
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