Scaling up solar power to meet climate goals

Supporting large projects in renewable energy generation provides clean power from an abundant resource, and can help countries meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

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To meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, it’s essential all countries reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Although each country will do things differently, today’s investment needs to lay the foundations for this, while helping economies achieve sustainable, resilient and long-term growth. In the energy sector, which creates 35 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, this requires moving from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.

While small renewable projects such as off-grid solar and mini grids have significant roles to play in the transition to net-zero, large projects are also needed to generate power on a utility scale. This is particularly vital in developing countries to support industrialisation, which cannot be supported by off-grid power due to the large quantities and low cost of power required. It is also key to helping countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments.

Benban Solar Park in Aswan, Egypt, is the largest solar park in Africa, with installation capacity of 1.6 gigawatts. It’s even visible from space. We invested in nine of its 41 solar-power plants, to help meet Egypt’s growing energy demand with clean, cost-effective power from an abundant and renewable resource.

623 GWh

The projects we financed at Benban generated nearly 623 GWh of solar power in 2019 - enough clean energy to power thousands of homes and businesses

The plants we financed generated nearly 623 GWh of solar power in 2019, enough to power tens of thousands of homes and businesses and avoid 301,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. This also supported an estimated 2,400 jobs, based on the increased reliability of power.

Benban Solar Park is helping lower Egypt’s cost of electricity generation and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and is playing a key role in Egypt’s renewable power programme. It’s also helping Egypt meet its commitments to the Paris Agreement, and its target of 20 per cent renewable energy generation by 2022.

We’ve committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy. In relatively developed markets, such as India, we look for opportunities to deploy renewable energy at scale. In more challenging markets, we provide patient capital and work with developers to get bankable projects off the ground. We also look for opportunities to invest in promising renewable technology at scale.

Images: Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation

  • Who

    Benban Solar Park

  • Where

    Egypt

  • What

    • At the time of construction, the solar plant at Benban was the largest single solar park in the world, visible from space
    • The projects we financed generated nearly 623 GWh of solar power in 2019 - enough clean energy to power thousands of homes and businesses and avoid 301,000 tonnes of carbon emissions

301,000 tonnes

The solar power generated by our projects at Benban in 2019 avoid 301,000 tonnes of carbon emissions