The first of 16 solar plants financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the Benban solar park in Egypt is now fully constructed and connected to the country’s national electricity grid, the EBRD said on January 28.

In 2017, the EBRD took a major step forward to support the rollout of renewable energy in Egypt, one of the largest economies in the Arab world, with the approval of a $500 million framework to support the development of Benban, the largest solar park on the African continent. The first of the plants at Benban to become operational is one of the 16 financed by the EBRD.

The 30 MW plant was developed by a sponsoring consortium led by Infinity Solar Energy SAE, an Egyptian company established in July 2014 to engage in the business of developing renewable energy projects in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East, the EBRD said, adding that the consortium also includes ib vogt GmbH, a German solar specialist, MMID, the investment arm of the Mansour and Maghraby Groups and BPE Partners, one of the leading private equity firms in Egypt.

“This is really a milestone. It was not much more than a year ago that we signed the financing for these projects and the first one is already contributing to Egypt’s green transition,” EBRD Managing Director for Sustainable Infrastructure Nandita Parshad said. “The speed with which these projects are already bringing clean energy to Egypt is a tribute to Infinity Solar, the Egyptian energy sector authorities and the support of the Aswan Governorate.”

The project is co-financed by the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is a fund established within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

According to EBRD, once completed, the 16 plants financed by EBRD will deliver 750 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity which is more than half of the park’s 1,465 MW contracted capacity. The projects are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900,000 tonnes a year.