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Saudi firm Acwa Power has reached financial close for three solar PV power plants totalling 120MW, to be built in the solar park under development at Benban in southern Egypt. Acwa aims to start construction by March with a view to Q4 start-up.
Acwa says it will finance, build, own and operate the projects, which require investment of $190mn. Some 75% is to come via non-recourse project debt from Europe’s EBRD development bank ($71mn) and Chinese state bank ICBC.
EBRD jump-started Egypt’s solar program – stalled due to unattractive terms – with $500mn of backing for a slew of projects at Benban. This came after Egypt’s power Ministry gave in to international financiers’ insistence that disputes be subject to international arbitration ( MEES, 16 June 2017 ). Subsequently the World Bank (IFC) joined the EBRD in supporting the Benban projects, taking combined backing to $1.1bn out of a total anticipated development cost of $1.9bn for 1.35GW of solar PV capacity (see table).
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