Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar (File photo: Al-Ahram)
The Egyptian government ratified on Wednesday a framework agreement between the National Authority for Military Production and Chinese company GCL to build a solar panels manufacturing complex in Aswan with a manufacturing capacity of 5 GW, according to a cabinet statement.
The project is expected to cost $2-$3 billion, Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar said at a press conference, according to Al-Ahram's agriculture portal.
"The Egyptian sand that will be used in the project is considered to be among the best worldwide," El-Assar said.
Implementation is set to begin this year and production is expected to start by 2019, to reach full capacity in 2022, El-Assar added.
The Egyptian government targets sourcing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
The project also aims to export panels to Arab and African countries, the minister said.
Egypt is responsible for allocating the land and issuing the necessary permits, while the Chinese side will draft the project's blueprints and offer equipment and technical supervision, the minister said.
Feasibility studies for the project are currently being reviewed, the cabinet statement read.
Solar panels are typically made of sand that has been refined into pure silicon.
Wafers of silicon are then used to convert sunlight into electricity.
Aswan witnessed the inauguration of the first phase of its 1.8 GW Benban solar park in March of this year.