As many as six Egyptian and regional developers are still aiming to reach a financial close on 20-50MW projects under Egypt’s first-round photovoltaic (PV) solar feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.

The 26 October deadline will be difficult to meet, sources say.

Developers are currently struggling with a requirement to finance 85 per cent of the project from abroad, while foreign lenders are unwilling to accept local arbitration.

Saudi Arabia’s FAS Energy has confirmed to MEED that it is still seeking to self-finance its project under first-round conditions.

Three other local and Saudi developers are also aiming to carry out first-round projects, according to Egypt’s Daily Business News.

They are the local Summit Egypt and Infinity Solar Company, with a German lender, and Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar, which is also self-financing.

Several local banks, including Commercial International Bank, are expected to extend the 15 per cent local finance tranche to the developers.

“It’s really not easy to match the requirements from the government based on 85 per cent to 15 per cent, but we are trying and the minister promised to treat this case by case,” one developer told MEED.

MEED reported in July that 11 developers were planning to carry out projects under the first-round FiT with local finance, after development banks pulled out over the local arbitration issue. They included Norway’s Scatec Solar, Saudi Arabia’s FAS Energy, Alfanar, the local Orascom Telecom & Media Technology (OTMT) and Wadi Degla Holding Company.

The 85 per cent foreign finance requirement is thought to have pushed several developers to withdraw from the round.

The first-round solar tariff for projects between 20MW and 50MW is a very attractive 14.34 $c a kilowatt hour ($c/kWh), 85 per cent indexed to the Egyptian pound exchange rate with the US dollar.

The second-round tariff was cut to 8.4 $c/kWh, with only 70 per cent indexed to the dollar.

The lower tariff and the increased currency risk make the second round much less attractive to developers.