The French company Voltalia has recently commissioned Râ Solar, a photovoltaic solar power plant in Egypt. With a 32 MW capacity, it is located in the Benban complex, in the centre of the governorate of Aswan, in Upper Egypt.
A new solar photovoltaic power plant has just been connected in the Benban complex. This is the work of the French company Voltalia, which belongs to the Mulliez Family Association (AFM). Voltalia modestly named it Ra Solar, after a god of the sun, creator of the universe in Egyptian mythology. The installation consists of 93,150 solar panels supplied by Suntech, a Chinese company. These modules, with a unit capacity of 345 W, are mounted on single axis structures equipped with trackers. It is a motorised supporting structure that orients the solar panels according to the displacement of the sun with the objective of increasing their productivity.
All the panels of the solar power plant provide 32 MW of electricity, which is purchased by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC). It has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Voltalia. This new power plant is in addition to other facilities already commissioned by other independent power producers (IPPs). This enhances the prospect of an inauguration near the Benban solar complex, which will eventually have a capacity of 1,650 MW.
Voltalia’s first steps as a PPI in Africa
According to Voltalia, the Benban solar complex will prevent emissions of 2 million tons of CO² per year, while improving access to competitive energy in Egypt. Its participation in this mega project marks the French energy specialist’s debut as a PPI on the African continent.
“The construction of Ra Solar marks a new step forward for Voltalia in Africa, with contracts currently being secured in five countries,” the company says. In Kenya, for example, it is developing the Kopere solar project, which will lead to the construction of a 50 MW solar power plant between Nandi and Kisumu counties in the west of the country. In December 2018, Voltalia received loans from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) for this project.
Although, on the African continent, Voltalia is better known as a company performing procurement and construction contracts (EPC). The company, which employs some 500 people, has nevertheless won the contract to build the 40 MW Eldoret solar power plant in the Rift Valley in western Kenya. It belongs to the Dutch IPP Alten Renewable Energy Developments BV.
Jean Marie Takouleu