Clean Power

Published on May 4th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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Egypt Investing Big In Solar Energy, Announces $1 Billion Investment

May 4th, 2014 by  

The new Egyptian government apparently sees solar energy as being a key part of the country’s future, based on recent comments made by its Local and Administrative Development Minister Adel Labib.

At the recent inauguration of a conference organized by Alexandria’s Chamber of Commerce, Labib announced that the Egyptian government will be investing around/up to $1 billion into a giant solar energy project(s?) in the coming years.

Egyptian flag

Unfortunately there aren’t many more details out there right now about this “$1 billion project(s?)” — given that the limited information available was provided by Egypt’s State Information Service, it’s something of an open question when further information will become available. 🙁

Among Labib’s other comments was the remark that the country possesses substantial mineral resources that have, until now, remained undeveloped — and that the country has a great need for the establishment of greater job opportunities for the country’s youth. It’s currently unknown to what degree these other comments will pertain to solar energy development.

As it stands currently, Egypt is aiming to receive roughly 20% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020. A goal which has been helped in recent years by the development of large projects, such as the previously reported on 750 MW worth of wind energy currently under development.

In somewhat related news, researchers from Ain Shams University in Egypt recently released their findings on an entirely different way of harnessing the sun’s energy for human benefit — redirecting sunlight from rooftops to the dark urban alleyways below via the use of specialized corrugated, translucent panels.

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Image Credit: Egyptian Flag via Flickr CC


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Banned by Bob

    You know this might work really well if Egypt had any money.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Egypt has money. Certainly not a lot by Polish or UK standards, but there are certainly countries that have much less and they have foreign exchange from oil exports. And the neat thing about generating electricity form solar is it has a massive return in Egypt as they currently get a significant amount of electricity from burning oil which has a generation cost of around 20 cents a kilowatt-hour and solar provides electricity during peak demand periods so more solar directly translates into less oil being burnt and more being available for export. Solar for Egypt is a clear money maker. It’s really just a matter of power brokers realising that they can benefit from it and bribing, sorry, I mean convincing, vested interests that it’s in their best interest.

  • According to PVinsights, http://www.pvinsights.com , Egypt grid-tie solar energy cost can easily reach below USD 0.05/KWh, which is very cost competitive to conventional utility.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Egypt has subsidised electricity, but the government recently announced it will push through price increases for better off citizens. Subsidied grid electricity reduces the attractiveness of point of use solar, but this just means the government has an incentive to encourage it and of course it can benefit from utility scale solar, particularly since Egypt still burns some oil to produce electricity, and the country would be far better off using solar power and exporting that oil instead.

      • JamesWimberley

        Sadly, Egypt, like much of the rest of the Arab world, is stuck with a statist, top-down vision of economic development. Even Morocco, with the most advanced policy for solar in the MENA region, has no residential/commercial FIT. A real effort by Egypt to support distributed solar would require a cultural revolution in the grid operator and policy bureaucracy. It may happen – that’s the way to create lots of jobs for unemployed and disaffected young men, not utility farms in the desert.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Just getting rid of import duty and sales tax on panels and inverters would be a big help and a lot of those young men (and young women) have become quite savvy at wiring things up thanks to the constant need to use generators and juggle loads.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Is the grid in Egypt relatively unreliable? IOW, does the power go out frequently for more than an hour or two? If more prosperous people tend to have generators, the Egyptian government should consider promoting rooftop solar with battery backup as a substitute for generators. A business opportunity for some enterprising Egyptian.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Unfortunately the Egyptian grid has shown a lot of unreliability. They had extensive blackouts this winter, which is unusual as demand is lower in the cooler months, and as they’ve headed towards summer the situation has gotten worse and their usual summer blackouts look to be quite bad this year. And yes, it is a business opportunity for enterprising Egyptians, but it’s not easy. Electricity is subsidised in Egypt and so is gasoline making it cheaper to run generators than what it would be otherwise.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “Electricity is subsidized in Egypt and so is gasoline making it cheaper to run generators than what it would be otherwise. “

            The old saying about painting oneself into a corner springs to mind.

          • Ronald Brakels

            They are cracking down on corruption in their subsidised gasoline system, but I don’t know if that will translate into higher operating costs for generators. Presumably it will as it means people have to actually turn up in person to purchase their ration of subsidised gasoline.

    • CsabaU

      And the major electicity demand peaks due to AC in the summer

  • No doubt this is a situation with a lot of uncertainty, but for the
    speculative investor the setting could be one with a huge reward

  • WilliamPJung

    Among Labib’s other comments was the remark that the country possesses substantial mineral resources that have, until now, remained undeveloped — and that the country has a great need for the establishment of greater job opportunities for the country’s youth. http://qr.net/x1m8

    • Ronald Brakels

      William, a little less with the deja vu, please.

      • Guest

        And just to be clear, in this context “a little less” means “a lot less” like all of it.

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