Complex Made Simple

Egypt meets solar power challenge with utility scale plant

Part of the Egyptian government’s ambitious sustainable energy strategy is the landmark solar Feed-In Tariff (FiT) programme, which sees 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.

A nice FiT

As part of the FiT programme, GE Power’s Power Conversion will provide a full turnkey contract to FAS Energy, a subsidiary of Fawaz Al Hokair Group of companies in Saudi Arabia, to build the 500MW solar power plant for the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), including both financing and equipment.

Upon completion, it will be able to power 15,000 local homes.

Eng. Lamya Yousef, Head of IPP and Renewable Energy at EETC, said: “Egypt’s New and 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 is solar energy development.”

“The FiT programme 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,” Eng. Yousef added.

Low-cost invertors

Based on the agreement, GE will provide 4.4MW solar skids featuring GE’s LV5 1,500 volt (V) solar invertors, marking the first entry of the 1,500V 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 per cent lower system cost and up to 15 per cent less in maintenance costs compared to its 1,000V peers.

It also helps reduce costs associated with infrastructure, deployment and operation expenditures.