Have you watched our mini-documentary on the Marsa Alam Solar Grid? As we celebrate the launch of this new ambitious project to link 8 existing KarmSolar solar stations in North and South Marsa Alam to the national grid, we’ve decided to look back on our relationship with this unique and wondrous corner of Egypt. KarmSolar, Karm Architecture Lab (KAL), and KarmWater have all established flagship projects with huge impact on the region. Below are some of the highlights!
Subsequent to our establishment in 2011, KarmSolar decided to venture a little bit south, all the way down to the sandy-white beaches of Marsa Alam. In early 2016, we embarked onto our journey by inaugurating our very first sea-side solar stations for Marsa Shagara and Oasis resorts.
We started off with just solar powered electricity, and here we are, six years later, with new KarmSolar innovations popping up in Marsa Alam almost every year; thereby effectively expanding our impact to include other solution-based utilities.
Our venture into Marsa Alam was not coincidental, however, we specifically chose Marsa Alam for a few key reasons. To start off, it’s one of the few locations in Egypt that was both off-grid, and consumed a reasonable amount of electricity.
As a result, all resorts or commercial developments are currently running on diesel-powered generators, which is not only unreliable and hazardous for the environment, but also very costly.
Accordingly, we were looking for a location where we could easily achieve a noticeable impact, which we would accomplish by replacing clients’ diesel consumption with cheaper, clean solar energy. Another factor we had on our side was the clients in the region’s remarkable openness to change, which made it relatively untroublesome to convince them to switch to solar.
Also, on a more personal note, we truly believe that Marsa Alam is one of the most peaceful and ethereal locations in Egypt, if not the world. The crystal-clear waters and pristine mountains that are characteristic of this region are so unique and untouched. In fact, most of our KarmSolar employees had their very first diving experiences a few years back during one of our company retreats to Marsa Alam. We wanted to play a part in ensuring the preservation of this location’s natural beauty by coming up with clean, alternative energy solutions to offer the clients in the area.
Karm Architecture Lab
Established in 2014, KAL is KarmSolar’s very own sustainable architecture firm, specialized in high performance architecture solutions using creative environmental designs and energy efficient strategies. Their business model resonated very well with the potential clients in Marsa Alam because it hit on a major pain point for hotel owners in Marsa Alam whose expenses are largely spent on diesel to keep their power on, and can be significantly cut down using KAL’s energy efficient design strategies.
KAL’s flagship project is an eco-lodge built in Marsa Alam almost entirely using discarded fossilized coral limestone; the construction waste of surrounding projects. Wadi Sabarah stands as a one-of-a-kind 3-story load-bearing fortress unlike anything built in the area in more than a century.
One of our biggest advantages is how close of a relationship we maintain with our clients, which allows us to easily spot their pain points and quickly turn them into potential opportunities for us, while also allowing them to easily trust us when we present them with a new solution. This was the case when it came to the establishment of KarmWater.
Launched in 2021, KarmWater is KarmSolar’s very own water solutions division, specialized specifically in solar-powered water desalination; a true game-changer for a water-scarce country like Egypt.
The issue with water desalination in itself is the huge amounts of energy consumed during the process. In fact, around 60% of the running costs of each 1 meter cubed of water is actually energy, a resource that we, as KarmSolar, have an abundance of; and thus, KarmWater came to be. We signed our first solar desalination project with Marsa Shagra resort in Marsa Alam, covering 100% of the resort’s water needs using desalinated water, and signed a similar project with Equinox resort shortly after that.
Marsa Alam Solar Grid
As previously mentioned, Marsa Alam is one of the very few inhabited locations in Egypt that is still currently off-grid. Resort owners were unequipped with the amount of upfront capital needed to invest in the grid themselves; which could go as high up as 9 Million EGP per resort, so it presented us with the unique opportunity to do so ourselves, which is how the Marsa Alam Solar Grid came to be.
The MASG is a first-of-its-kind regional energy solution that aims to power resorts across Marsa Alam with a connection to the national grid, while coupling that with a dedicated on-site solar station; thereby relieving them of their dependency on diesel generators. 8 resorts have signed onto the grid thus far, with huge room for future expansion.
We owe a lot to this beautiful piece of Egypt. We’ve originated a lot of our current key practices there, and our roots have grown deep since then. Even now, we still regard Marsa Alam as a part of KarmSolar’s future; allowing us to capture the whole value chain when it comes to utilities.