Morocco will host the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant at the edge of the Sahara desert, to help generate renewable electricity which will power nearly half of the country by 2020. The project, which will be built in the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate, involves installing a complex of four linked solar plants (Noor 1 is the first) which will occupy a space as big as Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, and produce roughly 500 MW of electricity - enough to power one million homes.
According to African Development Bank Group, which financed the first phase, “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 CSP technology works by using 0.5 million crescent-shaped mirrors, in 8000 rows to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a liquid. The liquid, mixed with water, heats up to 393C and creates steam that can, in turn, power a generator. Because this system can store power for when the sun goes down, it will be able to generate power at night-time, a huge advantage compared to other solar power technologies. The upcoming Noor 2 and 3 plants of the complex are set to launch in 2017. The two solar plants can apparently store energy for up to eight hours, which would provide solar energy in the Sahara and surrounding regions on a continuous basis.