In North Africa, Morocco has announced the launch of a new solar power programme with the first phase having a generation capacity of 25MW. There is some concern around the size of the project and its inability to attract investment from large companies.
Head of the Africa division at UK law firm Eversheds, Boris Martor said: “The problem is that in terms of capacity, it’s only of interest for some bidders.”
According to Abu Dhabi media, The National, the first phase of the three phase Tafilalet solar photovoltaic project is a lot smaller than other solar power projects in Morrocco, which total more than 100MW.
According to Martor, feasibility-studies, development and negotiation costs are the same regardless of scale.
Martor added: “[Developers] have to find financing for a project that might be smaller, but in terms of development, would cost the same as a larger project.”
According to the UK law firm, the utility has not yet disclosed the locations for phase one and two of the solar power project however, revealed that the second phase would comprise of eight solar power plants and phase three was expected to have two to four solar power plants.
The minimum total combined power for these plants would be 300MW.
Martor said that the World Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will provide financing for the first phase but could not confirm if they would be funding the full amount of $150 million.
Bids for the project are to be submitted to the Moroccan National Office for Electricity and Water.
Martor highlighted the importance for bringing on board local partners: “There are some Moroccan groups that are diversifying into the energy sector, and it’s important for any international bidder to partner [with local companies].”