Morocco sets sight on another giant solar complex

Noor Ouarzazate CSP plant in Morocco

February 3 (Renewables Now) - The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) has taken another step to further the development of Morocco's next giant solar power complex - the 800 MW Noor Midelt.

Masen has started working on the telecom infrastructure plans at the site after completing the security infrastructure studies some two weeks ago, Moroccan daily L'Économiste reported on Tuesday.

By design, about 3,000 hectares, some 25 kilometres to the northeast of Midelt, have been zoned for the installation of  hybrid, PV (photovoltaic) and CSP (concentrated solar power) plants. The project aims at combining the benefits of both technologies as CSP will help increase the load factor and reduce intermittency while PV will reduce upfront investment cost and the levelised cost of energy, compared to pure CSP solutions.

According to the pre-qualification documents, the first phase of Noor Midelt is expected to consist of two CSP plants, each with a capacity of between 150 and 190 MW coupled with a minimum of 5 hours storage capacity. The capacity of the PV component is left to the bidders'discretion, but cannot exceed night-time net capacity from CSP by more than 20%.

The total cost for the phase has been estimated at USD 2 billion (EUR 1.86 bn) , of which USD 500 million are expected to come from the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the European Investment bank (EIB). Masen has also applied for investment project financing with the World bank and German development bank KfW has pledged to provide financing for the project as well.

In February 2016, Morocco inaugurated the 160-MW first phase of its giant 580 MW Noor solar project near the trading city of Ouarzazate. The Noor I plant has covered 480 hectares of land with 500,000 thermosolar cylindrical parabolic troughs. The second and third phase will respectively add another 200 MW and 150 MW of CSP capacity and fourth phase will add 70 MW of PV panels. A consortium led by Saudi Arabia power and water project developer ACWA Power has been selected to develop all four phases of the project.

How @MasenOfficiel in Morocco hopes to transform power generation at scale #COP22 #climatechange pic.twitter.com/sKYfHFC2hd

— Tarek Bazley (@tarekbazley) November 18, 2016

(USD 1 = EUR 0. 928)

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Mariyana is a founding member of the Renewables Now team. With nine years of professional experience in renewables she has built strong expertise in the wind industry and French-speaking markets.

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