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Ahram Online: Powering Egypt: More solar solutions

Egypt is giving more attention to renewable energy projects, especially solar power, as part of government plans to increase its contribution in power
08.01.18 | Interesting article at Ahram Online

Three new solar power plants have started operations recently under the first round of Egypt’s feed-in tariff (FiT) system. Seventeen companies have signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MERE) under the second phase that ended in October 2017.

FiT is a special pricing system in which the government is obliged to buy electricity generated from renewable energy installations by the private sector at a fixed price. It has resulted in solar photovoltaic and wind projects that will add 4,300 Megawatts (MW) in capacity to the system by 2018. Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electricity and have become more cost-effective in recent years.

The current absence of tariffs for new projects after the closure of the FiT’s second phase has led to a focus on the net-metering scheme that was initially approved by the Egyptian Electrical Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (Egypt ERA) in 2013.

Net-metering is a billing system in which individuals or businesses generate their own electricity using solar cells and feed the excess power to the national grid at fixed prices.

Low electricity prices at that time compared to current rates led to meagre interest in the PV installations. However, increases in electricity prices as part of government plans to lift energy subsidies, along with the updating of the net-metering system in February and August 2017, has changed how investors look at solar power projects.