In North Africa, Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy last week signed seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) under the government’s feed in tariff (FIT) scheme for the generation of 320MW from solar and wind projects.
The MoUs, with an estimated value of $500 million, were signed with five companies from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the generation of 220MW of solar and 100W of wind, online news portal PV Magazine reported.
All seven projects are located on government land, with solar projects to be located in Binban in the Ar Riyāḑ Province in Saudi Arabia and Aswan, a city in the South of Egypt. The wind farms will be developed in Zafarana on the Gulf of Suez.
The agreements were signed last week at the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) Trade Mission in Cairo where an estimated 150 international and local key energy stakeholders were in attendance.
Renewables as sustainable solution
Egypt has plans to install 4.3GW of wind and solar power by 2017, including 2.3GW of solar (2GW of large-scale and 300MW of small scale under 500kW) and 2GW of wind, according to PV Magazine.
Earlier this year, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority launched a solar rooftop program called ‘Connecting Solar Energy to Houses and Buildings Smart Initiative’.
MESIA claims that the programme will enable electricity consumers and business owners to install solar systems on their roof and feed electricity into the grid. The excess electricity which is fed into the grid will be used as a credit towards future consumption.
MESIA energy predictions
In January this year, MESIA released three solar trend predictions to unveil this year:
- Solar will become more pan-regional. In the past the solar debate has been focused on only 1 or 2 countries. This year the industry will see solar projects take off in 11 different countries across MENA, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.
- Size matters: In 2013, there were only 3 projects awarded larger than 10MW. This year, that number is expected to reach 40. Each of these projects will be worth at least $60 million and several will exceed $100 million.
- Micro-solar markets: As the solar market grows, the region will see niche segments emerging. One example is the rooftop sector. With Dubai having recently launched a landmark solar rooftop program, the MENA region will see for the first time an entire industry emerge focused on building solar PV systems on rooftops.