Saudi Arabia to build solar generator in Bangladesh
Thursday, Dec 21, 2017
Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar Energy is to build a solar powered generation plant in Bangladesh with a capacity to generate 40-100 MW of electricity, Saudi-based Arab News reported last week.

The plant will be located near Chittagong and require an investment of US$51 million, Mohammed Abdul Hassan, a commercial officer at the Bangladeshi embassy in Riyadh, told the Saudi daily.

Alfanar Energy is active in a number of renewable energy technologies, including photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power, wind, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy. No details were released regarding the construction of the solar facility in Bangladesh, which will be built over the course of six months.

The Bangladeshi government has set a target to have 3,168 MW of renewable energy capacity installed by 2021, most of which will be either solar or wind. Solar power generation is to account for 1,740 MW of that figure, while 1,370 MW will be generated by wind. The balance will be made up from biomass power generation sources.

Renewable energy projects that will contribute to this goal include a 200-MW solar plant that will be constructed by SunEdison Energy Holding of Singapore and a 2-GW project being developed by SkyPower Global at a cost of US$4.3 billion by 2020.

A considerable amount of work has been carried out by the government-supported Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL), which is installing solar panels on homes in the rural areas of Bangladesh, bringing electricity to many who would otherwise be without electricity.

IDCOL is reported to control 90% of the country’s home solar market, in which demand is growing. IDCOL is credited with installing solar panels on 3.95 million off-grid homes and providing electricity to some 18 million people, according to a report in the New York Times.

Separately, Alfanar Energy is contributing to Egypt’s Benban solar complex, which is under construction with several companies involved.
Earlier this year, the Saudi firm signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co. (EETC) for the development of a 50-MW solar plant at Benban under Egypt’s feed-in-tariff (FiT) scheme.

The Alfanar project is worth US$100 million and financing is being provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

The Benban solar complex, in Egypt’s Aswan Province, will have a capacity to generate 1.8 GW of electricity when complete.

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