Morocco: already 32% energy yield with the local integration CSP solar plant Noor1

Noor1, CSP, Solar power plant, Morocco, Renewables, Smart Grid, Africa, Green Power, renewables, Carbon, Paris, EU

Ouarzazate solar plant will create enough electricity to power a million homes

Morocco – The installation of the Noor1, the giant CSP (Concentrated Solar Plant) will be completed in November 2015.

“The aim of local integration was 30%, but today we reached 32%,” revealed Carlos Ledesma, project director at Acciona Noor1, October 17 2015.

Noor 1, will go live next month.

Acciona (Spain), delivers the turnkey plant, one of the largest in the world.

Near Ouarzazate, nicknamed the “door of the desert”, a complex of 4 linked solar mega-plants has been built that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020 with, it is hoped, some spare to export to Europe. The project is a key plank in Morocco’s ambitions to use its untapped deserts to become a global solar superpower.

It took three years of work, to build this giant CSP. The system operates according to the solar concentration technology parabolic cylindrical mirrors. Each parabolic mirror is 12 metres high and focussed on a steel pipeline carrying a ‘heat transfer solution’ (HTF) that is warmed to 393C as it snakes along the trough before coiling into a heat engine. There, it is mixed with water to create steam that turns energy-generating turbines.

The HTF is made up of a synthetic thermal oil solution that is pumped towards a heat tank containing molten salt that can store heat energy for three hours, allowing the plant to power homes into the night. The mirrors are spaced in tier formations, to minimise damage from sand blown up by desert winds.

As engineers put the finishing touches to Noor1, its 500,000 crescent-shaped solar mirrors glitter across the desert skyline. The 800 rows follow the sun as it tracks across the heavens, whirring quietly every few minutes as their shadows slip further east.

Up to 35%

“Noor1 has collected more than 30% electricity. The goal of Noor 2, 3 and 4 is 35% efficiency.

“The success of Noor is measured by the creation of a complete ecosystem. It’s not just the solar power which is important, this huge project boosts the local energy sector with a lot of new businesses.

  • Cleanergy in Casablanca connects a village near Essaouira to the grid
  • Alto Energy, in Agadir, will be supported to sell solar energy generators solar energy instead of diesel generators.
  • “Local businesses such as Cleanergy, Jet Energy and Droven produce the photovoltaic panels.

New laws

The industry hopes for liberalization of medium and low voltage. As part of renewable energy projects, the government made a new law regulating that energy suppliers – when they deliver more than 300 MW – have access to grid.

European fundings

The European Union has granted a 465 million MAD ($47.8 million) loan to the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) for the construction of the 150 MW CSP Noor III solar project.


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