The Benban solar energy project in Aswan is one of the most significant and largest electrical developments in recent years, as it is the world's largest solar power plant, with a capacity of 1465 MW, and was established in collaboration with the private sector and international expertise, earning the city the title of the world's capital of solar energy.
In recent weeks, the Benban Solar Energy Project has named the best Arab government infrastructure development project as part of the inaugural Arab Government Excellence Award, which was organized by the UAE government in collaboration with the League of Arab States' Arab Administrative Development Organization with the goal of contributing to administrative development and government institutional excellence.
The Benban Solar Complex is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Egypt for generating electricity via the management of the foreign investment. With a capacity of 1456 megawatts, it is considered the biggest solar power plant in Africa and the Middle East.
The initiative directly supported 11,720 direct employment, 23,440 indirect jobs, and 6,000 jobs post-implementation, and 10% of revenues from participating enterprises were donated to social responsibility.
The initiative aided in the avoidance of 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by encouraging and attracting foreign investment to the area and enacting pro-investment legislation. Additionally, the project benefited the region's growth and society by converting the high school of industry into a solar energy school after an agreement with the Ministry of Education. To carry out the governor of Aswan's proposal through developing Benban's industrial secondary school into a solar energy school, including all areas of solar energy from its conception to power plants.
The solar energy project at Benban is a national initiative that serves as a new nucleus for solar energy generation in Egypt, with one of the project's primary aims being to support the national grid.
The project was chosen along with the Benban village on the Western Desert Road in Aswan Governorate, based on NASA and other international scientific institutions' studies and reports confirming that the project site is one of the world's brightest areas, and the investment cost was approximately 3.4 billion euros, or about 40 billion Egyptian pounds, and is located on an area of 37 km2 on 8,843 acres.
The project consists of four primary power transmission stations and forty solar substations. The project seeks to generate 2,000 megawatts of electrical energy, which is about 90% of the energy generated by the High Dam, in order to support the unified national power grid, and the size of the solar panels employed in the station reflects this goal. Around 200,000 solar panels provide 50 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power around 70,000 households.
Out of a total of 200 companies that applied to implement this massive project, 40 companies specialized in producing energy according to international standards, including ten international and Arab companies, as well as a large number of Egyptian companies in the construction and energy sectors, participated in the project through the New and Renewable Energy Authority.
It began in 2015, in accordance with Republican Decree No. 274 of 2014, and is based on a partnership with approximately 40 companies specializing in energy production to international standards, including Acciona of Spain, Alcazar Energy of the United Arab Emirates, Eneri of Italy, Total French of France, Chinese "Chint," and Norwegian "Scatec."
The Benban Solar Energy Complex in Aswan has also received widespread international acclaim, most notably from US Senator Bernie Sanders, who stated that "Egypt is building the world's largest solar power plant, which is considered a technological revolution to be emulated in achieving economic growth that ensures future generations' rights." Additionally, the space agency "NASA" noted that Egypt is making a qualitative leap toward clean and renewable energy sources, while "Philippe Le Horo," CEO of the International Finance Corporation, lauded the Benban station project, emphasizing how "wonderful" it is.
Four transformer stations were built to link the generating stations to the unified network, with a total cable length of up to 1,000 kilometers connecting the generation stations to the transformer stations.