China’s TBEA Sunoasis has begun construction of four solar power plants at the Benban Solar Energy Park in Egypt’s Aswan Province.
The four stations will have a combined output of 186 MW and will come at a cost of US$180 million.
They are part of the wider Benban Solar Plant, which is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
Upon completion, the solar plant will provide up to 2,000 MW of utility-scale solar capacity through a total of 40 separate projects, making it one of the largest solar developments in the world.
The Benban Solar Park, which is located about 650 km south of Cairo, is being financed by a number of global funding agencies and banks, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the IFC, the Chinese-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
The total cost of the project is expected to range between US$3.5 billion and US$4 billion.
Viewed as a game changer for renewable energy in Egypt, the mammoth solar park will occupy an area of 37 square km and will help push Egypt towards its goal of sourcing 22% of its domestic energy from renewable energy by 2020.
Egypt estimates that the project would help offset more than 500,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide.
Officials also believe the project will help Egypt develop as a regional energy hub for the Middle East.
The Egyptian government is hoping that the Benban Solar Park will lower the cost of electricity for consumers. This is particularly important considering that the government recently announced that electricity subsidies would be cut by 47% in the draft budget for the next fiscal year.
The construction of the four solar stations in the Benban Solar Park marks TBEA Sunoasis' first entry into Egypt. It currently has operations in 20 countries.