5 thermo-solar plants are said to be installed by 2020 with a cash injection of $9 billion

Morocco will be illuminated in 2015 as it eagerly awaits the operation of its first solar power plant. On Sunday a source revealed that this sun kissed country will be illuminated by Nour 1 thermo-solar plant, part of a multi-billion-dollar project an answer to their growing energy demand.

The 160MW Nour 1 will be developed in Quarzazate, a city in the South and will be in operation next year said Mustapha Bakkoury, head of Morocco's MASEN solar energy agency told AFP.

Morocco has the aim to become a global leader in renewable power generation with the capacity to export into Europe and nearby countries.

The bid to develop Nour 1 was won by international Saudi developer ACWA Power in September 2013. The total cost of the project is $900 million where further financial assistance is coming from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

According to Bakkoury, the progress of the project was moving forward at a comfortable pace considering it being the largest global thermo-solar project.

The second phase of construction for Nour 1 will commence at the start of the New Year. French and Spanish firms are among seven companies which have initiated interest in a response to tenders, and will be selected at the end of this year. The 3rd and final phase will be announced “in the coming weeks” said Bakkoury.

Morocco has limited oil and gas resources which motivated their adoption of renewable energy technology. Together with thermo-solar, plans for wind power plants along the Atlantic coast have been discussed as a solution to their future energy situation. This will increase the country’s total renewable energy generation to 42% by 2020.

An additional five thermo-solar plants are said to be installed by 2020 with a cash injection of $9 billion to fund the development and construction.

Source: i24News; Agence France-Presse (AFP)