A consortium of investors led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has finalized a $653 million debt package to finance the construction of 13 solar power projects near the Egyptian city of Aswan that will be a part of the larger Benban Solar Park. IFC’s investments are part of a global strategy to increase investments in renewable energy and help countries reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
The consortium includes the IFC, Africa Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Arab Bank of Bahrain, CDC of the United Kingdom, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, ICBC, and OeEB of Austria.
The power projects will generate up to 752 MW of solar power. The initiative, officially named the Nubian Suns Feed-in-Tariff Financing Program, is expected to provide cost-effective and eco-friendly power to over 350,000 residential customers and generate up to 6,000 jobs during construction.
Once complete, the Benban Solar Park will be the largest solar installation in the world, according to IFC. IFC’s financing is designed to help transform Egypt’s energy sector by helping the country meet its growing energy demand through renewables.
The project is the largest private sector financing package for a solar photovoltaic facility in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“Egypt’s reforms in its energy sector opened the door to private sector investments. For the Benban Solar Park project, those reforms and our innovative financial tools have helped attract a number of investors and financiers into the country for the first time. This will create jobs for many Egyptians and provide clean and reliable energy for people across the country,” said Philippe Le Houérou, the chief executive officer of the IFC.
Once complete, the Benban Solar park will have 32 operational solar power projects. Apart from the IFC-led consortium, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other investment banks are also involved in funding solar projects to be developed in the Benban Solar park.
The Feed-in-Tariff program is a major initiative that leverages private sector capital and expertise to support Egypt’s goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2022.
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