CAIRO, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Egypt said on Sunday that its giant Benban solar field in Upper Egypt's Aswan province is set to operate at full capacity in 2019.
Egypt's Investment Ministry said in a statement that President of the World Bank Group David Malbas visited the solar park with Egyptian Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, Social Solidarity Minister Ghana Wali, and other World Bank officials.
Malbas, who toured the solar field, praised the country's reforms in energy sector, the statement said.
The reforms in energy sector made by Egypt have "opened a door for strong investments by the private sector," Malbas said during his first visit to Egypt as head of the group.
Nasr said that the project comes as the country is taking unprecedented steps to create a modern legislative framework to attract foreign investment, according to the statement.
The project was granted the best project award by the World Bank group last March, the first time Egypt won such an award, the ministry said.
The Benban solar plant, which is expected to be fully completed in mid-2019, aims to generate around 2 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity through a total of 40 stations.
The park, about 650 km south of Cairo, is financed by a number of global funding agencies and banks, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
The solar plant, which occupies an area of 37 square km, will help Egypt increase its use of renewable energy to 22 percent of all domestic energy use by 2020.
The project is estimated to help reduce global greenhouse gas emission through cutting more than half a million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
In March, China's renewable energy company TBEA Sunoasis has finished the construction of three solar power stations at the Benban Park with an output of 186 megawatts.
The projects, which TBEA started to build a year ago, are owned by Spanish renewable energy project developer Acciona and Saudi investment firm Swicorp, with an investment of around 180 million U.S. dollars.