Power from the sun rising in Egypt

26 March 2018

Egypt is fast becoming the next solar hotspot.

Egypt is fast becoming the next solar hotspot. Part of the government’s ambitious sustainable energy strategy is a landmark solar feed-in tariff programme, which has helped bring utility-scale solar power plants into the landscape for the first time and is aimed at creating a combined capacity of 500 MW.

As part of the FIT programme, GE will provide a full turnkey contract to Fas Energy to build a 50 MW solar plant for Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, including both financing and equipment.

Lamya Yousef, head of IPP & Renewable Energy at EETC, commented: “According to the government strategy, Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority had set up a target of generating 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020, among which solar energy development is a key driver to achieve the goal. The FIT programme is the first utility-scale solar project in Egypt.”

GE will provide 4.4 MW solar ‘skids’ carrying GE’s LV5 1500 V solar inverters, marking the first entry of the 1500 V system into the solar market in Egypt. These efficient inverters are said to reduce system cost by 3% and maintenance costs by up to 15% compared to 1000-volt systems.

GE will also procure the complete plant assets including solar modules, trackers and cables as an integrated system solution and be responsible for the civil, mechanical and electrical works. It will also provide a favourable financing scheme.

GE is backing 1500V systems

GE is backing the ability of 1500V systems to lower system costs. In April it installed the first 1500V solar inverter in Japan, one of two deployed at Looop Co Ltd’s PV plant in the Ibaragi prefecture, marking the entry of 1500V solar technology in Japan’s solar market.

And in October it was chosen by Atlas Renewable Energy to provide its LV5 1500V solar skid solutions to two projects, Juazeiro and São Pedro, located in Bahia State, northern Brazil.

The system enables a simplified and more- efficient farm infrastructure layout while reducing investment costs for constructions. “Levelised cost of energy is a key indicator to drive investment decisions, among which capex and opex are fundamental drivers” said Carlos Barrera, CEO, Atlas Renewable Energy.

GE will provide the inverters as 4 MW or 2 MW skids for the 120 MW Juazeiro and 54 MW São Pedro projects. The LV5 unit has obtained accreditation from the Brazilian Economical and Social Development Bank (BNDES), which will allow customers to get BNDES financing at more attractive interest rates. 

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