With over a population over 90 million strong, a prime location, topography and climate, one would assume a country like Egypt would be perfect for solar energy.
The nation’s average level of solar radiation is between 2,000 to 3,200kWh per square meter a year, but this country on the verge of the African Sahara still imports enough gas to operate electricity generating plants all over the country and solar energy is more myth than reality in warm, sunny Egypt.
Things are beginning to change. The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Energy has set a goal in 2014 to supply 20 per cent of electric energy demand through renewable energy resources by the year 2020. However, most related projects are focused on wind as a power source and not solar energy.
To date, the only solar power project in Egypt is a 20 megawatt piece of a larger 140 megawatt solar thermal and combined cycle power plant.
For a true solar project, the only developer is KarmSolar, an Egyptian solar technology company focused on sustainable, environment friendly and cost efficient energy solutions, currently operating its station from phase 1 of the Feed In Tariff (FiT) program of the Egyptian government. It is a 2.2 MW station in Sahl Hashish in Hurghada, a resort city on the red sea.
KarmSolar was founded in 2011, the most turbulent year in recent Egyptian history, and yet it has still managed to quickly become an off grid solar energy integrator and the sole provider and developer of high capacity solar pumping stations, especially for the agribusiness sector.