Technology giant GE has been awarded a contract by the Egyptian government to establish a 50MW solar power plant in the country. It is GE’s first full turnkey contract to build a solar power plant.
As per the agreement, GE will provide 4.4-MW solar skids featuring GE’s LV5 1,500-volt solar inverters, marking the first entry of the 1,500-volt system into the solar market in Egypt.
The highly efficient inverter skids can help improve the annual energy production and thus increase the project revenues.
It can lead to up to a three percent lower system cost and up to 15 percent less in maintenance costs compared to its 1,000-volt peers. It also helps reduce costs associated with infrastructure, deployment and operation expenditures, said the statement from GE.
As per the deal, GE will also procure the complete plant assets such as solar modules, trackers and cables provide the integrated system solution to the customer and be responsible for the civil, mechanical, and electrical works to ensure the successful asset deployment and commissioning of the power plant.
Fas Energy, a key provider of renewable energy solutions for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region,
has been assigned to build the 50-MW solar power plant for Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), including both financing and equipment. Upon completion, it will be able to power 15,000 local homes.
According to GE, Egypt is rising to become the next solar hotspot. Part of the government’s ambitious sustainable energy strategy is the landmark solar feed-in tariff (FiT) program, which sees the utility-scale solar power plants taking off in the country for the first time.
Made up of solar photovoltaic power plants with a combined capacity of 500 megawatts (MW), the project will help drive sustainable energy growth, support the local economy and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said GE in its statement.
On the contract win, Azeez Mohammed, the president and chief executive (Power conversion) at GE, said this was the group’s first full turnkey solar plant deal.
“We offer solutions that cover the complete solar energy value chain. By taking the integrated system approach, we help de-risk the project and enhance plants’ reliability and revenues. With the digital technology coming as the next piece among our solar solution portfolio, we are committed to building tomorrow’s solar farms that are set to bring greater efficiency and productivity,” he noted.
Lamya Yousef, the head of IPP & Renewable Energy at EETC, said in line with the government strategy, Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority has set up a target to generate 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, among which solar energy development is a key driver to achieve the goal.
“The FiT program is the first utility-scale solar project in Egypt, and it is our strong commitment to the country’s sustainable economic growth and a cleaner environment,” she noted.
Sabri Asfour, the general manager of Fas Energy, said: “Egypt has abundant solar radiance all year round, and developing solar energy makes both social and economic sense. In order to achieve the government’s renewable target, it requires partners that have strong financing capacity and technology expertise.”
“We are impressed to find GE as a reliable partner that embodies both capabilities. Furthermore, Egypt is an excellent market for the renewable projects,” he noted.
Moreover, GE will provide a favorable payment scheme to help the customer kick off the project and enhance the plant’s bankability, he added.