KarmSolar, first Egyptian company to get license for off-grid solar power plant

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Update: This article has been updated to include KarmSolar's largest deal to date, announced on October 18. 

Solar energy startup KarmSolar has become the first in Egypt to be officially allowed to sell electricity from a major off-grid solar power plant.

The license, for a 1 megawatt (MW) installation at a dairy farm owned by a subsidiary of dairy foods company Juhayna, was approved by the Egyptian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Egypt ERA) and is specifically for KarmPower, a subsidiary of KarmSolar.

It is expected to be operational by April 2016.

“This is the first license issued by ERA to a private Egyptian company selling power from a solar station to a private consumer away from the national grid (off grid),” the company said in a statement last night.

In Egypt such a license is required in order to sell electricity generated by any means, be it gas, coal or renewables.

As we reported earlier this year, KarmSolar signed a 27-year deal with Egypt’s biggest Red Sea resort project Sahl Hasheesh to provide electricity from a 2MW solar photovoltaic power plant.

While they are still waiting on the approval for this particular project to go ahead, the new license is for a 25-year deal, signed in April, with the 11,000 acre Al Enmaa for Agricultural Development dairy farm in the west of Egypt.

Proving themselves as an in-demand service, CEO Ahmed Zahran told Wamda today that they had already signed two more Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with private tourism development projects that will be operational by April 2016, with more to come.

Egypt’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme, which came into being in 2014, was the basis for a major 4.3GW renewables tender, finalized early this year, and a second for an extra 500MW of solar and wind energy that was launched in August.

None of those initial project have yet won final approval from the Egyptian government, however.

KarmSolar is still the leader of off-grid solar power in Egypt, with other projects centering around private solar panels, as Wamda reported in May, and more recently wind energy.

On October 18, KarmSolar announced a $17 million project with Tahrir Petrochemicals to build a 10MW solar station for the Tahrir Naphtha Cracker project in Ain Sokhna.

The stations will be implement during 2016 and 2017, and will be part of the chemical company's move to diversify its energy mix.

This will triple KarmSolar's energy portfolio from 5MW to 15MW.

Feature image via KarmSolar.

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