In order to reduce the dependency on foreign energy and greenhouse gases, Morocco is constructing the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. King Mohammed VI is hoping to create half of country’s power using renewable solar by 2020. The first phase, Noor 1, of the mammoth solar farm has just began functioning. The whole project comprises of 4 interconnected phases that will take up an area equivalent of country’s capital, Rabat. Once completed, the plant is slated to produce 580MW of electricity (1 million homes).
As of now, the country is importing 97% of the total energy and it’s this practice that the project is hoping to cease. The solar farm will make use of curved mirrors, 12 meters high, which will be used for focusing the sun rays onto a heat transfer solution (HTF). This solution is heated to 393° C and used for powering steam generators located at the centralized plant. The first phase had 500,000 mirrors aligned in 800 rows in order to achieve the required energy collection.
As per Project Financing Bank, “Noor 1 will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding the emission of 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year over a 25-year period.” The next two phases, Noor 2 and Noor 3, will begin construction in 2017. The plant is also capable of storing energy for about 8 hours thus rendering it capable of providing power continuously to the consumers. The first phase provides 160MW of electricity.
According to energy officials from Morocco, this solar plant is the most important solar plant in the world. A total of $9 billion have been invested into the project that struggled to be completed on time. The mirrors that have been used are a bit less efficient than solar panels but the heating of HTF is what renders this project as a feasible one. Morocco is hoping to become a solar energy producing exporter in the future and is working its way towards that goal.