Morocco starts construction of Noor 1 solar plant

ACWA Power project underway to add 160MW of CSP capacity

The Noor 1 CSP project is the first stage of a scheme that will add 500MW of solar capacity. (GETTY IMAGES)
The Noor 1 CSP project is the first stage of a scheme that will add 500MW of solar capacity. (GETTY IMAGES)

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has attended the launch of his country’s Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Independent Power Project, the 160MW Greenfield project being undertaken by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power. The project is the first in a series being worked on for the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), with the Noor 1 site alone expected to have a final solar power capacity of 500MW.

The Noor 1 project will have three hours of thermal storage and ACWA says that it is currently the largest parabolic trough CSP plant in the world. Located in Souss-Massa-Draa, in Morocco’s Ouarzazate province, the scheme is being built on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer basis by ACWA Power Ouarzazate.

EPC contracts at the site were recently awarded to Spain’s TSK Electronica y Electicidad, Acciona Infrastructuras, Acciona Ingenieria and Sener Ingenieriea y Sistemas. Operations and Maintenance is set to be undertaken by a NOMAC-led consortium.

Commercial operation is expected to be reached in the second half of 2015, with MASEN being the sole offtaker of power under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

ACWA Power has said that it is also seeking to collaborate with local companies, universities and research centres, with a focus on both localising technology and developing intellectual property. The firm is also targeting local recruitment and anticipates that up to 1,000 workers will need to be employed during construction, and 60 during operation of the plant.

“We at ACWA Power are proud of the fruitful cooperation with the concerned Moroccan entities, in both public and private sectors, and here I would like to commend the professional efforts of Masen, which managed the tender with full transparency in a record time and the ability to collect and manage a mixture of international financial institutions that each and every one of them had different and special requirements. We have been able, through this project, to effectively participate in the Kingdom of Morocco’s renewable energy strategy which has become a model for the development of a renewable energy industry in terms of technology, implementation and cost,” said Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power.



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