Natural Sciences Climate
Mega structures to harvest solar power
A combination of geographical and climatic factors delivers a huge solar potential for Africa. Morocco is undertaking a large investment in solar power to meet growing energy demands.
The Ouarzazate solar complex is the first large solar plant for electricity production in Morocco . It is part of the Moroccan Solar Plan designed under Morocco's energy strategy and it forms part of the Concentrated Solar Power Investment Plan of the MENA region. This will enable Morocco to cover 18% of its annual electricity generation and also honour its national and international commitments on climate change.
The complex is projected to become the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world with an expected capacity of 580 MW. It is designed and built in four phases of which the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station Project – Phase I or Noor1 is the first.
Morocco receives an annual average of the order of 3400 hours/year and global radiation 5,5 kWh/m²/day. Work by H. Nfaoui* & A. Sayigh on the solar components and the characteristics of solar radiation necessary to exploit solar energy, demonstrates that the solar potential of Ouarzazate region is significant and thus profitable for the installation of concentrated solar systems to produce electricity on a large scale. Noor 1 covers 450 ha, expected to deliver 370 GWh per year.
Near-completed first phase of the solar complex, Noor 1, on Dec 2015 located at the “door of the desert” in the south-central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate. © eoimages.gsfc.nasa.
Funding is coordinated by Masen (Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy) set up in March 2010, is a limited company with public funding. It was created for the integrated Moroccan Solar plan implementation and the promotion of solar resources. Its capital is equally hold by the Moroccan State, the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Office National de l'Eau et l'Electricité (ONEE), and the Société d'Investissements Energétiques (SIE). Masen has three major missions: develop solar power plants, contribute to the development of a national expertise and act as a force of proposition on the regional and international plans.
Twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) and the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) held in Marrakech, Morocco
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