Morocco: government-run agency Masen authorized to buy minority stake in 170 MW NOOR PV I project

Masen Capital, a subsidiary of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), was authorized by the Moroccan government to acquire up to a 25% interest in the six special purpose vehicles that own the three PV power plants comprised in the 170 MW NOOR PV I project, according to a document published in Morocco’s official journal.

The project consists of three photovoltaic solar facilities: the 70 MW NOOR Ouarzazate IV, the 80 MW NOOR Laayoune, and the 20 MW NOOR Boujdour 20 MW. Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power began work on the first of the three plants in early April.  The company was selected after an international tender to develop, build and operate the three plants under a BOOT (Build, Operate, Own and Transfer) scheme. Acwa Power contracted the world’s largest EPC company, Sterling and Wilson, to construct the installations in late November.

In November, Masen signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Acwa Power for the development of the three projects. At the time, Masen told pv magazine that “the combined kilowatt hour (kWh) rate of the three projects making up the Noor PV 1 program (with an aggregate capacity of about 170 MW) is 0.46 dirhams (€0.045).”

Masen issued green bonds in the amount of 1.15 billion dirhams ($114.4 million) for the projects, which are being developed in the framework of a three-part Independent Power Production (IPP) plan with Morocco’s power utility ONEE.  The bonds were underwritten by local financial institutions Al Barid Bank, Attijariwafa Bank, the CMR (Caisse Marocaine de Retraite), and the SCR (Société Centrale de Réassurance).

The NOOR PV I project is the PV portion and the fourth phase of the 580 MW Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS), a CSP-PV solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region, central Morocco.