Infrastructure fund Africa50 helps Egypt’s solar power sector take off

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

A 37-square-kilometer solar park so large that it can be seen from space, with over seven million photovoltaic panels, and funding of $4 billion. In Africa? Impossible? Not anymore. 

Thirty international infrastructure developers got behind this project, investing in Egypt’s massive Benban solar park, which will be the largest in the world upon completion. Among the investors is Africa50, established by the African Development Bank.

Africa50 is an independent infrastructure fund, focused on high-impact projects mostly in the energy and transport sectors. The investment vehicle contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital and mobilizing private sector funding.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Africa50’s investment in Egypt’s 1.5 GW solar park in the Aswan desert is a prime example. 

The solar energy potential in Egypt, a country known for year-round sunny days, has long tempted investors. But the high cost of solar plants led the government to favor climate-warming fossil fuels, accounting for 90% of its power generation. 

Now that the prices of its components have fallen, solar energy has become competitive, allowing Benban to become a reality. In 2017, Africa50 joined investors Norfund and Scatec Solar to reach financial close for six of the 32 utility scale solar power plants in the complex, totaling 390 MW.

The Benban project, providing clean energy to hundreds of thousands of households, will help Egypt to reach its target of generating 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2022. It has put Egypt on the map as a major solar player in Africa and has set a precedent for using North Africa’s ample solar resources to provide power while meeting climate change commitments. 

The solar power project has also demonstrated Africa50’s ability to act as a bridge between the private sector and governments to deliver more projects more quickly and help narrow Africa’s infrastructure gap.

Africa50 is one of the largest contributors to the Benban park. With a 25% stake, the investment platform contributed equity to fund construction, alongside Scatec Solar and Norfund, which helped leverage total funding of around $450 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Dutch Development Bank FMO, the Green Climate Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. 

“Benban is a good example of how we use early stage project development expertise and financing to rapidly bring projects to financial close and then add equity to encourage broader financing,” said Alain Ebobissé, Africa50 CEO

“Benban is also the first of our dozen active projects to become fully operational and is now delivering clean energy to Egyptian people and businesses,” he added.

The plants are supported by 25-year power purchase agreements with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) under Egypt’s Feed-in Tariff program, backstopped by a sovereign guarantee. Access roads and interconnection facilities were funded collectively by the Benban project developers under a cost-sharing agreement with EETC and the New and Renewable Energy Agency.

The development impact of Benban is tremendous. Africa50’s six plants alone created about 1,000 construction jobs (out of 4,500 total jobs) and a quarter of the 250 permanent operations positions. 

In 2019, when the plants were operational, they started producing about 870 GW hours of power annually, providing clean energy for over 400,000 households and avoiding 350,000 tons of CO₂ emissions that would have been produced from non-renewable sources.

The consortium is also pioneering the use of bifacial solar modules, capturing the sun from both sides of the panel to increase generation. 

The innovations of the Benban project could provide valuable insights for the Desert to Power program, led by the African Development Bank. Desert to Power, with which Africa50 is associated, aims to develop 10 GW of solar power across the Sahel by 2025 and supply 250 million people with green electricity, including in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Moreover, Benban’s links to the infrastructure of the Aswan Dam will help combine hydro, wind, and solar power, a model for other African regions.

The landmark Benban project is an example of a fundamental change in the way an African country can provide power to its people. 

For decades, the Egyptian government had built and operated most power plants and was spending more on electricity subsidies than it was on education, healthcare, and social welfare combined. 

Benban proves that, with the right regulatory regime and cost structure, the private sector, supported by partners such as Africa50, can make solar power attractive, allowing governments to focus on other pressing priorities. 

Indeed, in the time of COVID-19, partners such as Africa50 can play a key role in leveraging private finance to free up government budgets across the continent to deploy resources to fight the pandemic.

[/read_more]

Today News Africa
Today News Africahttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

300,504FansLike
227FollowersFollow
6FollowersFollow
1FollowersFollow
909FollowersFollow
138SubscribersSubscribe

JUST IN

WHO Africa director promises ‘full, fair and transparent investigation’ following shocking sexual abuse allegations during DR Congo Ebola response

The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has reacted to allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the...

South African leader tells UN summit COVID-19 and environmental degradation are closely linked and must be fought together

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told a virtual UNGA75 summit on biodiversity on Wednesday that his administration was not losing sight...

Amnesty International USA urges Trump to condemn ‘white supremacy and racist violence’ following blunder at chaotic debate

Amnesty International USA on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to condemn 'white supremacy and racist violence', a day after Mr. Trump...

New York police planned assault on Black Lives Matter protesters in Bronx on June 4, human rights group says in shocking 99-page report

New York City police planned the assault and mass arrests of peaceful protesters in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South...

South Africa’s minister of defense Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the eye of the storm again, even after ‘salary sacrifice’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed that documentation relating to a recent visit to Zimbabwe by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans...

MOST POPULAR

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

IMF has given $31 billion to 76 countries to respond to COVID-19, including over $10 billion to 47 low income nations

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given $31 billion in emergency financing to 76 countries in the world to respond to...

Nigerian activists send open letter to President Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases he has ignored

Nigerian activists have sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases...

Nigeria could shut down on Monday as more unions pledge to join strike amid increase in power and petrol prices

Africa's most populous country, Nigeria, could shut down on Monday, as more unions pledge to join a strike action amid an...

Biden wins disastrous, embarrassing, worst presidential debate, as out of control Trump fails to change perceptions and refuses to condemn white supremacists

Joe Biden won the first presidential debate on Tuesday night amid countless interruptions by President Donald Trump who was supposed to...

Buhari tells UN summit indigenous flora and fauna facing extinction in Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday outlined measures by Nigeria to reverse biodiversity loss, expressing concern that most indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are facing extinction.President Buhari spoke in a video-message to the virtual 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York.The President...

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Reddit
Share