First EBRD funded Egyptian solar plant begins generation

By Nibal Zgheib

30 MW connected to the grid in Benban solar park

The first of 16 solar plants financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at the Benban solar park in Egypt is now fully constructed and connected to the national electricity grid generating clean, reliable energy for North Africa’s largest economy.

The EBRD took a major step forward to support the rollout of renewable energy in Egypt in 2017 with the approval of a US$ 500 million framework to support the development of Benban, the largest solar park on the African continent. The first of the plants at Benban to become operational is one of the 16 financed by the EBRD.

The 30 MW plant was developed by a sponsor consortium led by Infinity Solar Energy SAE, an Egyptian company established in July 2014 to engage in the business of developing renewable energy projects in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The consortium also includes ib vogt GmbH, a German solar specialist, MMID, the investment arm of the Mansour and Maghraby Groups and BPE Partners, one of the leading private equity firms in Egypt.

The project is co-financed by the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

“This is really a milestone. It was not much more than a year ago that we signed the financing for these projects and the first one is already contributing to Egypt's green transition. The speed with which these projects are already bringing clean energy to Egypt is a tribute to Infinity Solar, the Egyptian energy sector authorities and the support of the Aswan Governorate”, said Nandita Parshad, the EBRD Managing Director for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Once completed, the 16 plants financed by EBRD will deliver 750 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity which is more than half of the park’s 1,465 MW contracted capacity. The projects are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900,000 tonnes a year. 

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. To date, the Bank has invested over €4.7 billion in 92 projects in the country since it began investments there in 2012.