€345 million investment secured for Morocco’s Ouarzazate solar project


Overall, the European Investment Bank has pledged €100 million to the first phase of the concentrated solar power (CSP) project, while the European Union has made €30 million available. Meanwhile, €100 million will come from the Development Agency for France (AFD), and €15 million from Germany’s KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW) and Federal Environment Ministry (BMU).

The 500 MW parabolic-trough CSP project is expected to be the first implemented under Morocco’s Solar Plan (MSP), which aims to install a total solar capacity of 2 GW by 2020 in the country.

In September, the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency, MASEN, announced that a consortium led by the International Company for Water and Power (ACWA) and comprising the Saudi Arabian water and power company ACWA, Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas and TSK Electrónica y Electricidad had been chosen as the preferred bidder for the billion dollar project. At the time, it was said that the companies were planning to start work by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, last November, the World Bank said a U.S.$200 million loan would be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and another $97 million loan would come from the Clean Technology Fund to aid in the project’s development.

"As the lead European financial institution on this project, the EIB is proud to contribute both its financing and its technical expertise acquired across Europe for all sources of renewable energy. The first phase of Ouarzazate is a milestone for the success of the Mediterranean Solar Plan in the region. It provides a strong and green signal for the future in terms of technology, economic and energy development, and job opportunities," stated EIB VP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive.

In related news, various news sources, including AMEinfo.com are reporting that MASEN has signed a $1 billion PPA with the ACWA consortium. MASEN could not be immediately contacted for comment, however.

Further solar development

Under the MSP, tenders are also expected to be launched for 50 MW worth of CSP towers, also in Ouarzazate. Quoting Obaid Amrane, board member at MASEN, media outlet CSP Today reported earlier in the year that, "We are planning to launch the bidding process by the end of 2012 or early 2013."

Public procurement processes for build-own-operate-transfer power plants will further be conducted under an independent power producer (IPP) model with 25 year PPAs throughout various locations within Morocco.

And photovoltaics is also expected to play a bigger role in the third phase of the MSP, Nabih Cherradi, technical advisor and chief representative europe for the Shanghai New Energy Industry Association and founder of empowersun told pv magazine in September. Meanwhile, he expects that a minimum of 50 MW of photovoltaic capacity will be added in the first 500 MW phase.