The Ministry of Military Production received offers from Chinese and Korean funding institutions and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance a project to produce solar panels from sand.
Major General Mohamed Al-Assar, the Minister of Military Production, told Daily News Egypt that the ministry has addressed a large number of international financial institutions to finance the project. It has received several proposals, which will be studied in the coming period.
He stressed that the ministry has not settled on the form of funding, where it could be a loan re-paid over several year or entry of financiers as shareholders.
The Ministry of Military Production has contracted with the PSE German Alliance in May to prepare the technical and financial feasibility study for the project, which includes the construction of a solar power plant and another plant to produce solar panels from Egyptian silica sand with a production capacity of 1GW per year.
The project aims to produce solar panels from natural sand on several stages, from the production of silicon metal from sand to the production of solar cells used in the production of solar panels in the final form. The Minister of Military Production said that the German alliance will complete the feasibility study of the project during three months, followed by awarding the winning company for the best offer.
Al-Assar estimated the total cost of the project at about $2bn and implementation period of two years from finalising the feasibility study. He said that the Ministry of Military Production did not specify the percentage of the contribution of the National Authority for Military Production in the project so far. “The percentage will be determined after the completion of the feasibility study,” he added.
Al-Assar explained that the project aims to exploit natural resources of sand and provide employment opportunities for young people to achieve economic return of the state. He noted that the project will achieve a breakthrough in the production of solar panels. He pointed out that the ministry held weekly meetings with representatives of the ministries of investment, international cooperation, and electricity to discuss the developments of the project.
Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, announced last May that the feasibility study of the solar cell project was funded by a grant from the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development with KW 200,000 for the Ministry of Military Production.
She added that the government is coordinating with the Arab and foreign funding institutions to implement the national plan to promote the solar energy sector in Egypt, which aims to boost renewable energy capacity to 20% of electricity produced.