Italy has provided Egypt with a EGP 3.5m grant for the development of solar powered electrical units the Wadi Al-Hitan region of El Fayoum Governorate’s Wadi Al-Rayan wildlife reserve, according to a Tuesday statement from the Ministry of Environment.
The grant comes under the framework of Egyptian-Italian cooperation in the fields of environmental protection and sustainable development.
According to Igor Marcialis, manager of the Commodity Aid Programme at the Italian Foreign Ministry’s Italian Cooperation, the units’ production capacity stands at 43 KW per hour, adding that the batteries associated with the solar energy units could supply energy for three days “while being separated from the station”.
The solar energy units are currently generating electricity for 19 buildings in the area, said Mohamed Talaat, the head of the central administration for natural reserves, an affiliate of the Ministry of Environment.
“The Italian side will provide the periodic maintenance of the units for two years,” Talaat said, adding that workers in the Wadi Al-Hitan region have been trained to operate the solar energy units and perform periodic maintenance in the future.
Egypt’s government has expressed its intention to shift to greater reliance on solar energy. Former Minister of Electricity Ahmed Imam said in February that 25 solar energy stations would be established on the top of each ministerial building to “help convert thermal energy attained from the sun to electric energy”.
The government also plans to produce 20% of the country’s energy through new and renewable energy by 2020, with 12% of which to employ wind energy, according to Imam.
In March, a village in Marsa Matruh Governorate was equipped with solar lighting systems in houses, on streets and at other service establishments through a partnership programme between Philips Egypt and Shell Egypt.