Morocco to build the world’s largest solar power plant

By Money Times

Nov 26, 2015 02:21 AM EST

Morocco will build the largest concentrated solar power in the world at Ouarzazate city. The project, alongside with hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco's electricity requirement by 2020.

The CSP project is a part of a vision from Morocco's King Mohammed VI to turn his country into a renewable energy powerhouse. The first phase of the project, called Noor 1, will go online next month under the Saharan sun near the city of Ouarzazate.

According to Global Construction Review, Noor 1 project covers 30 square kilometers built on perfectly flat of ground at the base of the Atlas mountains.

The project uses mirror technology that is more expensive than the photovoltaic (PV) panels that are commonly used in rooftops across the world.

The technology will have the advantage of being able to continue producing power even after the sun goes down.

Noor 1 project uses 500,000 of parabolic mirrors to gather  the sun's energy at a container of salt, which is heated to about 400 degrees Celcius. The melted salt will hold the sun's heat to power a steam turbine in the evening.

The project will generate power for three hours after dark. The last stage aims to supply power 20 hours a day.

When the Noor 2 and 3 plants are built, heat energy will be stored in the plants for as long as eight hours,  which could provide solar energy to the region around the clock.

BBC News reveales that the solar power plant project is developed by Saudi-owned ACWA Power.

The company's spokesman Paddy Padmanathan described  the project as 35 soccer fields of huge parabolic mirrors pointed to the sky. The mirrors are movable to track the sun throughout the day.

Padmanathan stated that phase one of the project will bring energy to a million people.

Noor 1 project has a generated capacity of 160 MW. When the four plants at Ouarzazate are finished, they will generate 580 MW of electricity which is enough to power Morocco's capital, Rabat.

According to TakePart, the Moroccan Agency for Solar energy would like to export the renewable power to countries in the Middle East and Europe.

The Agency spokeswoman Maha El Kadiri said that the country would have to build the interconnectors to enable export energy to Europe.

Earlier this year, the European Union laid the subject to establish interconnector infrastructures between France, Portugal, and Spain for delivering affordable and sustainable energy. The EU nations will make 10% of their power exportable by 2020.

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