2019 saw the connection of the world’s largest solar park. The Benban complex, which cost an estimated $2.8billion total, is located in Aswan in Egypt’s Western Desert, approximately 400 miles south of Cairo.
The complex is a marvel of engineering, financing and human ingenuity, generating as much as 1.8GW (giga-watts) of renewable electricity. This figure is enough to provide sustainable power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Egypt.
Part of the second round of Egypt’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, the Benban complex is ingeniously structured. The solar park has been subdivided into plots, each with a capacity of 50MW, allowing the complex to benefit from the input of several developers and investors implementing solar power projects. The complex consists of 41 separate solar farms, all connected together, and employs around 4,000 people. All the renewable energy generated by the solar complex is sold to the Egyptian Electrical Transmission Company (EETC), via a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Among the developers who worked on the Benban complex is a joint venture between Hassan Allam Utilities, and TAQA Arabia. The partnership constructed a 50MW plot, which was financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other developmental financial institutions, all supporting the Government of Egypt’s initiative to diversify the country’s energy mix.