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Can rooftop solar work in Cairo?

Two Egyptian banks are offering low-interest loans designed to encourage Cairo residents to purchase solar panels for their rooftops. (Jose Antonio Sanchez/

Two Egyptian banks are offering low-interest loans to encourage Cairo residents to purchase of rooftop solar panels. Laurie Balbo reports for Green Prophet that sunny Egypt “is a solar power generating Nirvana.”

The loans are being offered by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr in affiliation with state-owned utilities and the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, the article says. “Green lending” dovetails with a broader renewable energy program that aims to produce a fifth of the nation’s energy from renewables by 2020.

Success of the program would require Cairo’s residents to get comfortable with the idea of paying interest on loans. That’s not accepted in Islam, based on the tenet that money “has no value in itself” and “should not be allowed to give rise to more money,” according to the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance. Writing at Inspired Economist, blogger Aisha Abdelhamid says a culture of corruption and distrust of unreliable electricity companies are other obstacles.

Balbo writes that an incentive for participants to repay their loans is that they can sell excess electricity back to the grid.



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