Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) and Abu-Dhabi based renewable power company Masdar have entered into a partnership to design, supply and install 17,670 solar home systems throughout 940 villages in West African Morocco.
Masdar claims that once the installation of the solar homes is complete together with additional electrification initiatives, 99% of rural Morocco will have access to electricity by 2017.
The Solar Home Systems will be deployed by Masdar Special Projects – a division of Masdar Clean Energy.
Masdar will provide maintenance and operational training over an initial two-year period which will then be taken over by ONEE.
The government of Abu Dhabi will be responsible for the funding of the project.
The power partnership will identify local service providers to install and maintain each 290 watt solar panel home system.
Rural electrification in Morocco
According to director general of ONEE Ali Fassi-Fihri, the rural electrification project meets the Moroccan government’s objective for the development of marginalised areas through development of basic infrastructure.
Fassi-Fihri said: “Rural electrification through Solar Home Systems is part of an ambitious program launched by the Moroccan government in 1996, which allowed access by connecting to the national grid more than 12 million people and equipped 51,559 homes with solar systems. This effort has greatly contributed to improving the living conditions of rural populations, especially those concerned by the National Initiative for Human Development.
He added: “The development of renewable energy is one of the most important economic policies of the government of Morocco. In fact, the government is committed to securing 42% of nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Working closely with Masdar, we will electrify our rural communities, spur economic growth, create jobs and take an important step toward energy security.”
With a climate that can support both wind and solar, the Moroccan government aims to install 2GW of solar power by 2020, amounting to 14% of the country’s total installed generation capacity.