Week in Middle East: Saudi’s Al Kifah And Spain’s Grupotec Form JV To Advance Renewable Energy, New solar park to ease Iraqi governorate’s power shortage, Turkey cuts admin fee for rooftop PV systems and More

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Egyptian bank launches program financing private solar energy panels

The Arab African International Bank (AAIB) on Sunday launched its latest project in retail banking and personal finance for financing individually-owned solar energy panels. This program enables AAIB customers to reduce electricity expenses in the long run, through purchasing sustainable solutions generating their own electricity at home. In a statement, the bank said that this program is among the first of the AAIB’s new banking services and products to be launched this year.

Saudi’s Al Kifah And Spain’s Grupotec Form JV To Advance Renewable Energy

Al Kifah Holding has signed an agreement with Spanish multidisciplinary engineering and architecture company, Grupotec, to supply solar power for Saudi Arabia’s industrial and commercial sectors, as well as to develop large scale solar projects. Signed on the sidelines of the Future Projects Forum in Riyadh, which is organised by the Saudi Contractors Authority, Al Kifah and Grupotec will explore the opportunities for the renewable sector by supplying solar power for Phase 1 of the kingdom’s major projects, including Qiddiya, Neom and The Red Sea Project. Al Kifah also said the joint venture aligns with the Vision 2030 agenda to diversify the kingdom’s economy optimise the energy mix of Saudi Arabia. The country has set a target of including 40GW to its energy mix through solar till 2030.

New solar park to ease Iraqi governorate’s power shortage

To combat growing electricity concerns in the district, the Iraqi governorate of Duhok signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) earlier this month to set up the district’s first solar energy park. The project comes amid pressure on Iraq to diversify its energy sources and lessen its dependence on Iran. Two years ago, Duhok released a plan for sustainable energy. The plan included the district’s pledge to make significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. “Our commitment to take climate action, deliver affordable, clean energy to the citizens and address electricity shortages remains as strong as ever,” said Duhok Governor Farhad Atrushi Feb. 4, as he and the UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq Zena Ali-Ahmad signed a letter of agreement for the project. “Establishing the first solar park in Duhok will contribute to achieving this goal and meet the needs of the market.”

Saudi and Emirati investments to develop solar power projects in Egypt

Saudi and Emirati investments are helping create solar energy projects in Egypt after Egyptian authorities established a legal framework for private investments in renewable energy. Saudi and Emirati companies reportedly plan to invest in three new projects with a capacity of 150 megawatts (MW) in addition to acquiring a 50-MW project belonging to the Italian company Enerray. The Egyptian government enacted a law allowing state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, affiliated to the Ministry of Electricity, to buy electricity produced by private companies under a new tariff. Experts said the price tier of 8.4 cents per kilowatt should attract investments. The Benban Solar Park in southern Egypt is the first project designed to attract foreign investment in renewable energy. The facility includes 32 electricity production stations and has a capacity of about 1,465 MW and investments that exceed $2 billion.

Turkey cuts admin fee for rooftop PV systems

The Turkish government has decided to cut the one-off administrative fee applied to rooftop PV systems, the country’s official journal has stated. The tariff, which includes an additional 18% VAT payment and is paid for securing approval from the authorities, will be almost halved from TRY529 ($87.37) to TRY278 for owners of such ‘unlicensed’ PV systems with generation capacities of 10-100 kW. For 100-300 kW systems the fee will fall 30.7%, from TRY1,528.50 to TRY1,058; 300-500 kW arrays will see the fee fall 3.1%, from TRY2,309.50 to TRY2,236.50; for 500-700 kW installations it will reduce 7.7%, from TRY4,089.5 to TRY3,773; and for 700 kW-1 MW facilities there will be a 1.1% saving, with the charge reducing from TRY5,202.50 to TRY5,147.50.

Israel’s 300 MW solar-plus-storage tender reportedly at risk

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) has written to the Ministry of Finance to request suspension of a tender for a 300 MW solar power plant in the Negev desert the ministry launched at the end of January, according to Israeli financial newspaper Globes. The ILA, which supervises the 93% of Israeli territory which is owned by the state and leased to occupiers, is reportedly concerned the planned solar facility would occupy land needed for sand mining and thus threaten local industry. Globes reported the ILA is concerned any shortage of sand production could drive up construction costs. The 750-acre PV project site is south-west of Dimona and features huge sand deposits the ILA would like exploited before the solar plant is constructed.

Riyadh receives two bids for solar PV schemes

Bidders submit proposals to develop solar schemes in Medina in the second round of Saudi Arabia’s renewables programme. Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (Repdo) has received two bids for the Category A projects in round two of the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP). The bidders are Alfanar (local) / Al-Blagha (local) and First Solar (US). Category A includes two solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects. The first planned project is located in Medina with a capacity of 50MW, and the other is a 20MW plant in Rafha. Bids for the larger schemes in round two, classified as Category B, were submitted on 20 January. The four teams that submitted bids for the four Category B solar PV projects include Marubeni (Japan) / Al-Jomaih (local), Total (France) / Al-Gihaz (local), Masdar (UAE) / EDF (France) / Nesma (local) and Acwa Power (local) / GIC (Kuwait). The four solar PV projects have a combined electricity generation capacity of 1.4GW. MEED understands that no single bidder will be awarded more than two of the projects.

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