Ayman Heiba — Executive Director of the Energy Development Association (SEDA) — stated that the association will meet with a Tunisian delegation of businessmen and investors in the fields of new and renewable energy to discuss cooperation, investment, and exchange of experiences in projects using solar energy.
Heiba added that this visit comes within the Egyptian government’s strategy to use new and renewable energy as an alternative to traditional energy sources.
This is an attempt to implement solar energy systems as a source of electricity to rely on clean energy to meet part of the country’s electricity needs. It also aims to reduce emissions and preserve the environment, especially that solar energy is available throughout the year in Egypt and contributes to reducing traditional fuel consumption, protecting the environment, and providing opportunities to work in local manufacturing.
Furthermore, Heiba said that a high-level Tunisian delegation is scheduled to visit Egypt over the next two months to inspect a number of renewable energy projects and review the projects implemented in the field of solar heating — whether by the government or the private sector — as a complement to the project of the United Nations United Industrial Development (UNIDO) and SHIP Programme.
The SHIP project adopted by UNIDO in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry — represented by the Industrial Modernisation Centre — works to localise and utilise solar energy, especially heat use, in industrial applications, which contributes to rationalising the consumption of gas and diesel used in boiler applications and water heating in factories and tourist facilities.
Heiba explained that a cooperation protocol will be signed between the SEDA in Egypt — which is an association of companies, investors, and experts in renewable and solar energy — and the Tunisian side under the auspices of the industry ministry and UNIDO.
He also stressed the importance of benefiting from Tunisia’s experience in this field, given that it has made great strides in solar heating projects in several governmental and private facilities, and Egypt seeks to cooperate with it to increase the demand for solar heaters. Moreover, Egypt seeks to enhance the local manufacturing of solar energy technology and encourage its application in heating processes in the Egyptian industry, which contributes significantly to saving natural gas and diesel consumption.
Additionally, Heiba revealed that renewable energy projects represent about 20% of the total electric capacity installed on the national grid, noting that this percentage is planned to increase to 42% by 2035.
Also, an Egyptian delegation from the Renewable Energy Authority, SEDA, the Industrial Modernisation Centre, and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) visited Tunisia last June to learn about its experience in implementing solar heating projects within the framework of the UNIDO mission and the SHIP programme.
The Egyptian delegation visited a number of projects affiliated with the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company, as well as a number of sites that include solar heaters, and the National Agency for Energy Control.
It also held a meeting with officials of Attijariwafa Bank — the partner in the Solar Energy Promotion programme. The bank’s officials presented the financing programme for solar energy and ways to finance projects, as well as procedures for arranging financing and the controls and criteria for project lending.
Heiba revealed that the main obstacles and challenge facing investment in the field of solar energy in Egypt is the fact that the Egyptian solar energy market is suffering from confusion due to some global changes, as well as the difficulty of opening documentary credits. Additionally, the cost of solar systems increased by up to 35% due to the increased price of components and shipping.
He stressed that the existing legislation and controls in Egypt to regulate the labour market in the solar energy sector are good, but they need a package of incentives and financing programmes to encourage investors and citizens to invest in solar renewable energy projects in line with the state’s policy to rationalise consumption of natural gas, especially that Egypt has set an ambitious plan to expand clean energy projects.