By Wael Mahdi – Jul 4, 2011.

Tunisia plans to invest $2 billion in solar projects to generate power for Europe, the minister of planning and international cooperation said.

Tunisia is building 40 solar projects with foreign partners from Germany and other countries, and they will start providing electricity to Europe by 2016, Tunisia’s Abdelhamid Triki said in an interview in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The power will be transferred by a submarine cable to Europe through Italy, he said. Triki didn’t say how much electricity will be generated in the project.

About 60 percent of the financing for the solar projects will come from the private sector, and the rest will come from the government and other sources, he added. Tunisia is also planning wind-power projects, Triki said.

Nur Energie Ltd. accepted technical terms for the projecting to bring Tunisian power onto the Italian grid, according to a June 1 statement. Under terms of the offer, Terna, the Italian high-voltage transmission network operator, agreed to import 2,000 megawatt of solar power produced in the Tunisian desert, the statement said.