Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has agreed to join a consortium of lenders supporting the financing of 13 solar power projects within the Benban Solar Park in Egypt.
World Bank affiliate International Finance Corporation (IFC) is leading the financing with the consortium of lenders including the China backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) providing long-term debt on a limited recourse project finance basis.
The projects are being developed by six separate sponsor groups as part of round 2 of Egypt’s Feed-in Tariff Financing programme, and will form part of the Benban Solar Park. Once completed, Benban will be the largest solar installation in the world. The total financing amount for the 13 solar power projects is US$653 million.
The consortium of lenders also includes the African Development Bank, the Arab Bank of Bahrain, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, OeEB of Austria, and UK government-owned development finance institution CDC. The consortium of lenders was advised by Norton Rose Fulbright.
The transaction marks the largest private sector financing package for a solar facility in the Middle East and North African region. It is also AIIB’s first financing in Africa.
The power plants will generate up to 752MW of solar power and contribute to energy security in the region. The initiative, officially named the Nubian Suns Feed-in Tariff Financing programme, is expected to provide power to over 350,000 residential customers and generate up to 6,000 jobs during construction.
The Feed-in Tariff programme leverages private sector capital and expertise to support the country’s goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2022. The Benban Solar Park, which will include 32 power plants in all, is a major part of the initiative.