August 27 (SeeNews) - Given the current trend rate of decline in cost, solar power will soon reach grid parity in Morocco, an unnamed official at the country’s agency for solar energy MASEN told daily L’Economiste on Wednesday.
MASEN is overseeing construction works at three large scale concentrated solar power plants - Noor I, II and III at the Ouarzazate site - a surface of about 33 square kilometers (or 3,300 hectares).
Noor I - a 160 MW power plant with thermosolar cylindrical parabolic troughs and 3 hours of energy storage capability, will start feeding electricity to the grid by the end of this year. The power plant has contracted a sale price of MAD 1.6 (USD 0.165/EUR 0.147) per kWh.
Noor II, a 200 MW power plant with thermosolar cylindrical parabolic troughs and 7 hours of energy storage capability, will sell its electricity output at MAD 1.36 per kWh.
Noor III, an installed capacity of 150 MW which will employ central tower technology with salt receivers and 7 to 8 hours of energy storage capability, will sell power at MAD 1.42 per kWh.
All three projects are being developed by two companies of the Saudi Arabian group Acwa Power.
Development costs are also turning lower than expected. The price tag for Noor I turned out to be 30% lower than the investment initially expected by the builder.
Declining costs are expected to positively influence the speed and scope at which solar power projects are conceived, developed and put into operation.
Morocco's national energy strategy is targeting to raise the share of renewable energy to 42% of the total installed capacity in the country by 2020, with solar, wind and hydro each contributing 14%.
(MAD 1 = USD 0.103/EUR 0.092)