Dubai firm completes $69m project at Egypt's Benban Solar Park in Aswan

Dubai firm completes $69m project at Egypt's Benban Solar Park in Aswan
Benban Solar Park has seen the operational commencement of Alcazar Energy's AEES1 plant.
Published: 24 January 2019 - 11:45 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

A solar project worth $68.6m with the capacity of 64-megawatt peak (MWp) has started commercial operations within Benban Solar Park in Aswan as Egypt adds renewables to its energy roadmap.

Renewable energy production company Alcazar Energy has developed the project. Its recently opened Alcazar Energy Egypt Solar 1 (AEES1) is a photovoltaic project which makes up a quarter of the total 256 MWp capacity that the Nubian Suns scheme will produce.

Nubian Suns comprises four projects – of which AEES1 is one – and is led by IFC, in collaboration with the World Bank; the Washington-based Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; and the government of Egypt.

A joint venture of TSK and Enviromena built AEES1, which was financed by loans from International Finance Corporation (IFC), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, African Development Bank Group, and CDC Group, in addition to equity from Alcazar Energy.

Alcazar Energy’s head of delivery and operations revealed that more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected as the company builds the four solar projects. With AEES1 complete, the firm is now pushing for a commercial operation date of February-end for the remaining three ongoing projects.

“Twenty-one different contractors and subcontractors were appointed on the project, 16 of which were Egyptian companies,” Lacha added. “At its peak, the AEES1 project employed 685 people, 274 of whom were from the local communities and 286 from the rest of Egypt.”

Commenting on the development, co-founder and chief executive officer of Alcazar Energy, Daniel Calderon, said AEES1’s completion marks “an important milestone” for the firm.

“Our four projects in Egypt, together with our portfolio in Jordan, will bring us to a combined capacity of 411 MW in the region,” he continued.

In a statement, Alcazar Energy said that Benban, which spans 36km2, will ultimately comprise six million solar panels and feature 32 sub-projects to produce 1.5 GW of energy, a number that is comparable to the output capacity of Aswan Dam.

The Dubai International Financial Centre-headquartered firm is owned by Blustone Management, Dash Ventures International, IFC, and IFC Asset Management Company. Its website lists Mubadala Infrastructure Partners, an Abu Dhabi-based fund manager backed by Mubadala, General Electric, and Credit Suisse, as one of its sponsors. Its portfolio in Egypt, according to Mohamed Zidan, senior director of business development for Alcazar Energy in the country, includes West Nile Wind BOO, West Nile Solar BOO, and Gulf of Suez Wind BOO.

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