How Morocco Is Harnessing Solar Power To Achieve Energy Independence

Morocco is on the way to dramatically cutting its dependence on imported oil after successfully launching Noor 1 — the first phase of what will eventually become the world’s largest concentrated solar plant.

The country has historically relied almost entirely on imports from abroad for its energy. Now it has found a way to transform its abundance of sunlight into an economic asset.

When the project is completed in 2018, it’s expected to reduce Morocco’s fossil fuel reliance by two and a half million tons of oil and provide enough leftover energy to export to Europe.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI inaugurated the first installment of the new thermodynamic project on Thursday in the desert city of Ouarzazate, flanked by famous guests like French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal and balloonist Bertrand Piccard.

Five hundred thousand curved mirrors now line the Moroccan desert in rows, spanning a surface area that is visible from space.

The project is funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank and private stakeholders, and its first phase cost an estimated $894 million. The total price tag for the project will be approximately $9 billion, according to Moroccan officials.

“The Noor Project will allow Morocco to reach energy independence,” Moroccan Communications Minister Mustapha El Khalfi told HuffPost Morocco.

Many people speak, but Morocco acts. the biggest solar powerplant opens today thanks to the King’s vision with Masen

— Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) February 4, 2016

Initially, Noor 1 will provide 650,000 residents with 160 megawatts of power, the Guardian reports. It’s eventually expected to generate 580 megawatts of power for 1.1 million people, 20 hours per day.

The government also plans to —> Read More