GE to help build one of Egypt’s first solar power plants with 1,500-volt technology

ge solar(Image source: GE)Egypt is rising to become the next solar hotspot. Part of the government’s ambitious sustainable energy strategy is the landmark solar Feed-In Tariff (FiT) program, which sees the utility-scale solar power plants taking off in the country for the first time

Made up of solar photovoltaic power plants with a combined capacity of 500 megawatts (MW), the project will help drive sustainable energy growth, support the local economy and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the FiT program, GE Power’s Power Conversion will provide a full turnkey contract to FAS Energy, a subsidiary of Fawaz Al Hokair Group of companies in Saudi Arabia, to build the 50-MW solar power plant for Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), including both financing and equipment. Upon completion, it will be able to power 15,000 local homes.

Eng. Lamya Yousef, Head of IPP and Renewable Energy at EETC, said: “According to the government strategy, Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority had set up a target of generating 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020, among which solar energy development is a key driver to achieve the goal. The FiT program is the first utility-scale solar project in Egypt, and it is our strong commitment to the country’s sustainable economic growth and a cleaner environment.”

Sabri Asfour, General Manager at FAS Energy, said: “Egypt has abundant solar radiance all year round, and developing solar energy makes both social and economic sense. To achieve the government’s renewable target, it requires partners that have strong financing capacity and technology expertise. We are impressed to find GE as a reliable partner that embodies both capabilities. Furthermore, Egypt is an excellent market for the renewable projects, FAS Energy is expanding our investment portfolio to install on their roof top and car park as well. Now FAS ENERGY already signed a few PPA’s in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”

Azeez Mohammed, president and CEO, GE’s Power Conversion, said: “This is GE’s first full turnkey contract to build a solar power plant. We offer solutions that cover the complete solar energy value chain. By taking the integrated system approach, we help de-risk the project and enhance plants’ reliability and revenues. With the digital technology coming as the next piece among our solar solution portfolio, we are committed to building tomorrow’s solar farms that are set to bring greater efficiency and productivity.” 

Based on the agreement, GE will provide 4.4-MW solar skids featuring GE’s LV5 1,500-volt solar inverters, marking the first entry of the 1,500-volt system into the solar market in Egypt. The highly efficient inverter skids can help improve the annual energy production and thus increase the project revenues. It can lead to up to a three per cent lower system cost and up to 15 per cent less in maintenance costs compared to its 1,000-volt peers. It also helps reduce costs associated with infrastructure, deployment and operation expenditures. 

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