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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Is Egypt reviving a zombie solar panels factory project?

Is Egypt reviving a USD 2 bn zombie solar panel manufacturing project? A Chinese partner will reportedly be contracted in 1H2020 to build two facilities to produce solar panels with a combined annual capacity of 5 GW in Aswan and Zaafarana, government sources told the press. The sources made no mention of the expected investment cost and did not name the Chinese contractor, noting only that the project will be financed through Chinese banks.

This is likely the USD 2 bn facility which made headlines in 2018: The sources said that the project was previously touted as being capable of producing 5 GW-worth of panels a year, but further studies showed it could produce less. This hints that the project referred to here is the USD 2 bn integrated solar panel factory, for which the military production minister was planning in 2018 to award contracts to China’s Golden Concord Group (GCL). Talks with the Chinese side broke down later this year. It remains unclear whether GCL came back to the negotiating table or if the government found another prospective Chinese partner.

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