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GE to build Egypt’s first utility-scale solar power plants with 1,500-volt technology - Daily News Egypt

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GE to build Egypt’s first utility-scale solar power plants with 1,500-volt technology

The deal is part of the government’s landmark solar FiT program

As part of the government’s ambitious sustainable energy strategy, the landmark solar feed-In tariff (FiT) programme, General Electric’s (GE) Power Conversion will provide a full turnkey contract to FAS ENERGY to build the 50-MW solar power plant for the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), including both financing and equipment. Upon completion, it will be able to power 15,000 local homes.

Egypt is rising to become the next solar hotspot. The FiT programme 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.

Lamya Yousef, head of IPP & Renewable Energy at EETC, said that according to the government strategy, Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) had set up a target of generating 20% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020, among which solar energy development is a key driver to achieve the goal. She added that the FiT programme is the first utility-scale solar project in Egypt, and it is their strong commitment to the country’s sustainable economic growth and a cleaner environment.

Sabri Asfour, general manager at FAS ENERGY, said that Egypt has abundant solar radiance all year round, and developing solar energy makes both social and economic sense. “In order 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 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,” he added.

Meanwhile, Azeez Mohammed, president & CEO of GE’s Power Conversion, said that this is GE’s first full turnkey contract to build a solar power plant, adding that the company offers solutions that cover the complete solar energy value chain.

He noted that by taking the integrated system approach, they 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,” he pointed out.

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 3% lower system cost and up to 15% less in maintenance costs compared to its 1,000-volt peers. It also helps reduce costs associated with infrastructure, deployment, and operation expenditures.

GE will also procure the complete plant assets, such as solar modules, trackers, and cables; provide the integrated system solution to the customer; and be responsible for the civil, mechanical, and electrical works to ensure the successful asset deployment and commissioning of the power plant.

Moreover, GE will provide a favorable payment scheme to help the customer kick off the project and enhance the plant’s bankability.

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