Morocco is expanding its solar power projects in a move to have a reliable energy source, after having completed bidding of the second and third phase of the Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project.
According to Moroccan solar energy agency Masen, there are three phases of the project, with the first aimed at producing 160MW and is under construction. All the three phases will produce around 500 MW.
The award of the Phase I and II of the Ouarzazate solar thermal power project went to Saudi developer ACWA power international and Sener Ingenieria Sistemas SA of Spain. Phase 1 alone required $1.7 billion for construction. Phase III will be undertaken by consortia formed by Abengoa, Sener Group, and International Power (GDF Suez).
Once completed, the Ouarzazate solar power generation facility will be the largest in the world as only two exist. The construction project will provide 18% of Morocco’s annual electricity generation and is part of the country’s plan to install 2,000 of solar capacity by 2020.The technology involves the use of mirrors that concentrate sunlight to generate steam and run power turbines.
The project is funded by World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and German Development Bank.
The country currently imports power from Spain, with demand growing by 7% in a year is spending heavily in subsidizing power production. China also will be, according to last year’s news, be investing US$2bn in solar power plants in Morocco.