Egypt: Scatec Solar Installs Africa’s First Bifacial Solar PV Plant

  • Earlier this month Scatec Solar and their partners have grid connected and reached commercial operation for 65 MW of their 400 MW Benban project in Egypt.
  • What is significant about the project is that it is the first large scale bifacial solar PV project in Africa.

The Benban solar power plant in Aswan is Scatec Solar’s largest project under construction, and the Company is the largest contributor to the 1.5 GW Benban site – Africa’s largest solar park. Read more

We have been a pioneer in Egypt since 2013 and have worked closely with the Government to support implementation of large-scale solar to increase the country’s share of renewable energy. Grid connecting our first solar power plant marks a major milestone for us. This is also our first power plant with bi-facial solar panels, capturing the sun from both sides of the panels to increase the total clean energy generation”, says Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.

Bifacial solar panels differ from standard solar cell technology in that performance is enhanced by making use of both sides of the solar cell to capture light. PERC literally stands for ‘Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell’. The technology improves performance by also capturing light near the rear surface which in turn optimises electrons capture. It is achieved by including a passivation layer at the rear of the module. It can be applied to both monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells. Read more

The first 65MW commissioned is part of another 5 phases bringing the total capacity to 400MW which is expected to be completed this year. All six are backed through 25-year PPAs with the Egyptian government and will generate a combined 870GWh of clean power, equivalent to CO2 cuts of 350,000 tonnes.

Scatec Solar’s 400MW bifacial project required US$450 million in investment, US$335 million of which was supplied by the EBRD, the UN’s Green Climate Fund, Dutch development institution FMO and the Islamic Development Bank.

The performance benefits of bifacial panels out way the higher costs particularly in high-irradiation, high-reflection areas like Aswan.

Scatec have recently reported good results for the first quarter 2019. Read more 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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