Egypt’s ministries go solar

The Electricity Ministry signed a cooperation agreement with the Arab Organization for Industrialization to install two solar power stations, each with a capacity of 40 KW, reported the state-run Al-Ahram portal.

Mohamed Moussa, the energy minister’s deputy, said the contract is worth LE1 million, with an implementation period of 16 to 22 months, Al-Ahram reported.

The aim is to produce a total of 150 KW of solar energy by next summer.

The agreement was signed by Electricity Minister Ahmed Imam and AOI’s president, Abdel Aziz Seif.

This first contract to install a solar power station in Egypt would hopefully “spread the culture of using solar energy,” Amin said.

Egypt has a wealth of untapped alternative energy sources, including solar and wind energy. The government under ousted President Hosni Mubarak had plans to produce 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

But energy has become one of Egypt’s biggest challenges, as the ailing economy and a tight budget delayed the implementation of new power stations and the maintenance of older ones. Increased demand has also turned Egypt from a net-exporter of natural gas to a net-importer.

The project will start with the installation of solar panels on buildings and companies affiliated with the Electricity Ministry, a model that will be replicated with other government bodies to make them more energy-efficient.

Seif said that while the project might seem small now, its importance is as a catalyst in using solar energy in Egypt, starting with government bodies.

“Tapping into this source would allow Egypt to save on other resources, including petroleum and gas,” he said.

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