The Egyptian government has made its first payment, amounting to EGP 1,874, for home-generated solar power, VetoGate reported.
According to Hisham Tawfik, chairman of Cairo Solar, he received the payment after providing two months’ worth of energy generated by solar panels installed on the roof of his Fifth Settlement home.
Although Tawfik had the panels installed and connected to the government’s power grid in May, he only received the payment this week due to paperwork delays.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy introduced a feed-in tariff system in October of last year to encourage private investment in renewable energy. Through this system, regular citizens can install solar energy panels atop their buildings and connect these panels to the government’s power grid in exchange for monthly payments for generating power.
According to state media Al-Ahram Online, the feed-in rates depend on each station’s output. Households receive EGP 0.848 (USD 0.11) per kilowatt-hour, while commercial producers receive between EGP 0.901 to EGP 0.973 (USD 0.12), depending on output levels.
Tawfik said that a solar power station requires an initial investment of around EGP 65,000 and brings in EGP 11,000 of profit annually, and typically lasts 25 years.
Relying on private power generation is one of the government’s recent steps to alleviate a compounding energy crisis the country has been suffering from for years.
However, there has been a significant rise in foreign investment in the country’s solar sector in recent months. In a report published in March 2015, the Egypt Solar Industry Association listed eight projects to develop solar power capacity that are currently underway.
According to Egypt-SIA’s report, the electricity ministry “has already begun to establish favorable policies” to attract foreign investment in renewable energy.
Egypt’s government held an economic conference earlier this year to attract USD 60 billion in foreign investment, including billions for the energy sector.
Last year, power outages were a common feature of Egypt’s scorching summer months, with some reporting as many as six outages daily, each lasting as long as three hours.
The government has since been seeking to diversify its energy sources by turning to coal, among others, despite its negative effects on the environment.
Officials also announced setting a goal of using renewable energy sources to cover 20 percent of Egypt’s power needs by 2022.