Solar field at Kuraymat, Egypt is now fully assembled. Image via changents.com
Ra, the sun god of the ancient Egyptians, would be proud: Egypt’s first large-scale solar thermal facility is nearing completion. A parabolic trough solar field, incorporating nearly 2,000 collector units and covering 130,000 square meters, has been installed at the Kuraymat project site, located about 100 kilometers south of Cairo. The solar power plant is scheduled to become fully operational in the fall.
As reported in the Solar Thermal magazine, the technology for the solar field comes from Flagsol GmbH in Cologne, a joint venture of Solar Millennium AG and Ferrostaal AG, with construction work provided by the Egyptian company Orascom Construction Industries.
The 150 MW power plant features a hybrid design, utilizing both natural gas and solar energy to generate electricity. It was commissioned via an international tender by the Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and is expected to cost over € 250 million; the solar field accounts for about 30% of this cost. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) awarded a $50 million subsidy for the solar field.
Flagsol’s managing director, Dr. Thomas Thaufelder, notes: “An important goal of the international DESERTEC Industrial Initiative [DII] is to generate solar power for use in the North African states before it is exported to Europe. This initial project can soon demonstrate the successful implementation of this goal.”
Egypt is also seeking funding and technical assistance to build a $1 billion solar power plant along its Red Sea coast. According to a report in ArabianBusiness.com, the Egyptian government is conducting talks with Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Masdar clean energy company, as well as with three unnamed European firms.
In February, Egypt signed a deal with Masdar to construct a 200 MW wind farm near Suez, as part of the country’s plan to generate 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
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