France’s state-run utility, EDF Renewables, and Abu Dhabi-based Masdar have been selected by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) to run the 800-megawatt Noor Midelt I project, 20km north of Midelt in central Morocco.
The project is due to host a combination of photovoltaic panels and concentrated solar power technologies.
It is due to be equipped with storage to inject energy into the grid for up to five hours after sunset.
The Noor Midelt I solar complex is due to have two CSP (concentrated solar power) sites.
CSP generates solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small point.
Both Midelt I sites are to have a generation capacity of 190MW. The generation capacity of the two PV components – around 210MW each – are anticipated to take the total capacity of the project to 800MW.
In 2017, the African Development Bank commitment US$265 million to help develop two solar power plants at the site.
Construction of the Noor Midelt I plant, which is between the River Moulouya to the south of High Atlas mountains, is expected to begin by the end of the year and be completed in 2022.
Masen said the project would sell power for US$0.07 per kWh.
It is among the projects planned by Masen as part of the Noor Solar Plan to develop a minimum capacity of 2 GW by next year.
Sun-kissed and windswept Morocco says it wants to generate 52 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
EDF Renewables and Masdar have previously collaborated on large-scale renewable energy projects. The two energy firms secured the rights to develop a 800MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
Earlier this year the consortium also won the first wind-energy auction held in Saudi Arabia and is due to develop the 400MW project.
Morocco has auctioned several solar power projects with all previous tenders going to bids led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, which also operates a 120MW wind-energy project in Morocco.
The consortium said: “EDF Renewables, Masdar and Green of Africa would like to thank Masen and the king of Morocco for having designated our consortium as the successful bidder to develop the innovative Noor Midelt I with an installed capacity of 800MW hybrid concentrated solar power and photovoltaic power plant.
“The consortium is fully committed to supporting Masen and the realisation of Morocco’s long-term renewable energy ambitions.”
Morocco has great wind and solar potential. Picture credit: Energy Reporters