Egypt is an ideal country for the development of solar energy, but this potential has remained unused. The situation will change soon with the opening of the giant Benban solar park with an area of 37 km², located in a desert area 630 km from Cairo. According to IEEE Science, a total of 7.2 million individual panels with a total nominal capacity of 1.8 GW will be placed here.
About 30 companies are working on the project, installing solar panels, substations, transformers, a control station in a far area of the desert, as well as water pipes and cables. Currently, the work is 80% completed; the opening of the power station is scheduled for the end of the year.
Although the temperature in this area rises above 38 ° С, the construction of the park went without problems, and its electronics, as shown by tests of already constructed sections, successfully cope with high temperatures (only one inverter was out of order during the testing of the system).In the future, energy storage systems may appear at the station and they will correct the daily fluctuations of generation and increase the efficiency of work.
We must mention that only a few years ago, only 9% of Egypt’s electricity came from renewable sources – mainly from hydropower stations on the Nile. However, the energy shortage and the obligations of the Paris Agreement forced the government to take measures to develop renewable energy sources.
According to the plan, by 2022, pure energy should be 20% of the energy balance of Egypt, and by 2035 – 42%. Experts from the International Energy Agency are sure that the potential for renewable energy in the country is even higher. According to their calculations, Egypt can receive half of the electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Benban solar park, with a total cost of $ 2.3 billion, will play a key role in these plans. This project has already reduced the cost of photovoltaic systems in the country and demonstrated the viability of solar energy. Besides, work on the power station allowed 3,000 local specialists to gain useful experience (the station itself will provide 640 people with permanent jobs, many of them will be involved in the regular cleaning of panels from sand and dust and their protection). And investors, inspired by the construction, are ready to invest in new, even larger-scale installations.
The project will also be useful for the environment. According to calculations, the exploitation of the solar park will allow avoiding emissions of 2 million tons of CO2 annually. The struggle with climatic changes is very important for Egypt as global warming reduces agricultural productivity, threatens the Nile Delta with flooding and increases the frequency of deadly heatwaves
The government of Egypt promises to purchase electricity produced by Benban at special “preferential” tariffs for 25 years.
Source – here