The National Solar Cell Project has received over 100 applications to launch solar energy plants connected to the electricity grid. The companies approved to implement the plants within the project are estimated at 38.
Hend Farrouh, the project director, told Daily News Egypt that the project received applications for projects in the industrial, commercial, residential, and tourism sectors.
The project is funded with investments of up to $3.5m. It is a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is one of the UN funds to finance environmental projects. It implements the projects of the UN development programme in cooperation with the Industry Development Centre.
She added that 15 agreements were signed to implement solar energy projects connected to the grid, with the majority having a capacity of 150kW. The contracting companies include Ceramica Art, Ragab Faheem, Cairo Petroleum, and others. The agreement is also under way with other factories and companies. “Financial and technical support is given to projects, as $250 are given for each kW, with a maximum of $37,500 for a project with a capacity of 150kW,” Farrouh explained.
The first projects to be contracted in each sector will gain extra support up to $45,000, and several agreements will be signed to launch solar energy plants at hotels and schools, added the project director.
Farrouh then noted that an agreement was signed with Dar Misr, in the third phase of Sheikh Zayed, to implement solar energy plants with a capacity of 228kW, including a consumption rationalisation plan at the top of 38 buildings, feeding 912 residential units with electricity, in addition to lighting lamps, elevators, and water pumps.
Notably, an agreement was signed with the General Authority for Educational Buildings to install a solar power plant with a 27kW capacity at schools established by the authority, elaborated Farrouh.
Furthermore, she revealed that several forums and workshops were held with investor associations to explain the strategy of the solar cells’ national project, with several meetings held in Sheikh Zayed, 10th of Ramadan City, Sohag, Assiut, the Red Sea, and Qena.
“The companies and factories in Upper Egypt did not know anything about the project, even though it was announced in official newspapers. The meetings have proven to be effective, and managed to attract a large number of people,” she stressed.
A training course is prepared in cooperation with the Federation of Egyptian Banks to facilitate the process of lending small solar projects to finance SMEs with 5% interest, highlighted the project director.
She pointed out the training of 98 engineers in the New Valley, Dakhla and Kharga oases to understand the system of solar cells. Additionally, there are preparations to train employees to be at the location of the solar energy projects in Benban.
Plus, the door is open for companies working in solar energy projects of to present their documents, and for them to be approved to work within the national project. There are projects that receive technical support only, while others receive financial support only, and other projects receive both, declared Farrouh.
She continued that the advisory company supervising the project is the responsible body for approving participating companies, and projects to be implemented. All the procedures are carried out with transparency, according to Farrouh.
She explained that the party interested in implementing a solar power plant shall present its documents for consideration, then the concerned party will choose one of the companies to work within the National Solar Cells Project.
She expected the market to be open next year, following the demand by companies to implement solar energy plants. Financial support given for each kilowatt will decline, to range from $150 and $200 until an exiting strategy is reached, so that no financial or technical support is provided, Farrouh concluded.