4 February 2016

Morocco connects first phase of giant €8bn solar project

The first phase of the largest solar power project in North Africa was connected to Morocco’s grid on Wednesday.

The solar plant in Ouarzazate province is the first part of the Noor project to be completed and has a generating capacity of 160 megawatts.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy said the Masen plant cost €798 million (£610 million) to build and was developed by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and Spanish firms Sener SA and Acciona SA.

The Noor project will have an estimated combined capacity of 2 gigawatts by 2020 when construction of all the units is complete.

A spokesman for the Masen phase said the Noor project will cost about €8 billion and will cover at least four locations in Morocco.

The Noor project is financed by a range of organisations including the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund which have both provided €150 million, and the African Development Bank which as contributed €168 million.

The European Investment Bank, Germany’s KfW, and the French Development Agency who have contributed €100 million each.

The European Union and Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety have also helped to finance the project with €30 million and €15 million contributions respectively.

Morocco currently imports over 90 per cent of its energy and the government has set a target to generate 52 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030.

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