Luxor’s 160 kW solar energy plants would make sun god Ra proud

Luxor home to some of Egypt’s greatest temples has something to solute over: the city has started its first 80kW solar energy plant, worth about $530,000 US to power lights at Luxor University and surrounding streets.

A second solar power plant, with a capacity of 80kW, will be powering the Luxor government buildings.

The two plants were inaugurated last Saturday by Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and the governor of the city of Luxor, Tarek Saad Eddin.

Another 2MW solar energy plant, cost $3 million USD will power some residential buildings in Luxor. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that about 300,000 people in Egypt lack access to electricity. Those with power put a growing importance on oil, especially the polluted kind like bitumen.

To the ancient Egyptians, the sun represented light, warmth, and growth. To modern Egyptians looking to repair their economy for tourism they see the way forward in renewables and sustainable tourism. The solar power plants were switched on shortly after Egypt hosted the international solar power conference: Luxor Is a Green City this past June.

Luxor is the largest tourism region in southern Egypt, with some 70% of Egypt’s Pharaonic relics found inside the Luxor region, according to figures from the Ministry of State for Antiquities.

While tourism is down significantly from past years, Luxor is still home to 168 cruise hotels located along the Nile’s pathway between Luxor and Aswan. There is a hotel capacity of 17,000 rooms waiting to be filled.

Will green tourists be wooed to come back to Egypt?

Saad Eddin tells local newspapers that he will be pushing solar energy in the Luxor region. PM Adel Labib says that there is a giant US$1 billion solar energy project in the energy pipeline.

Meanwhile those taking a cruise down the Nile, don’t expect big bargains as the increase in price of diesel has caused cruise prices to double, according to local news reports. Until recently fuel was highly subsidized.

The Telegraph has an excellent guide to cruises that are running this season if the trip is still on your bucket list.

Like Israel nearby Egypt is aiming to generate 20% of its energy from renewables by 2020. That translates to about 1.8GW of solar power in the framework. 

Ancient Egyptians knew that the sun was power. Modern ones too will hopefully see solar as the way forward and out of Cairo’s black smog days of polluting oil and diesel. Time to salute the sun.

Don Mammoser /

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