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Inside the World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Farm, the Size of 3,500 Football Fields Located in Morocco

The world’s largest concentrated solar farm is located in Africa.

Morocco is aiming to become a world leader in renewable energy and already hosts the world’s largest concentrated solar farm.

The country has one of the most ambitious energy targets in the world and has set itself an ambitious target of ensuring 42% of its power needs come from renewable sources by 2020.

“Morocco is considered as a leader in the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region at least as far as renewables are concerned,” said Moez Cherif, Lead Energy Economist for the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region for the World Bank.

The Noor complex was financed with a $400 million loan from World Bank combined with $216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund.

The Noor complex was financed with a $400 million loan from World Bank combined with $216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund.

Imported fossil fuels currently provide for 97% of Morocco’s energy need, according to the World Bank. As a result, the country is keen to diversify and start using renewable energy.

The country is now well on track to hit its target with 35% of its energy currently sourced from renewable energy thanks to solar farms such as Noor Ouarzazate.

Noor Ouarzazate, World's Largest Solar Power Complex.

Noor Ouarzazate, World’s Largest Solar Power Complex.

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The first part of a three-phase project of the thermo-solar farm was officially turned on in 2016 by His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The Noor complex, which was financed with a $400 million loan from World Bank combined with $216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund, uses concentrating solar power (CSP) which is more expensive to install than the widely used photovoltaic panels, but unlike them, enables the storage of energy for nights and cloudy days.

Noor Ouarzazate, World's Largest Solar Power Complex.

Noor Ouarzazate, World’s Largest Solar Power Complex.

Unlike conventional solar panels which deliver energy directly to the grid, curved mirrors concentrate radiation to heat tubes of fluid which are pumped to a power unit. The unit holds the energy for use at a later time — specifically at night when demand is greater.

The whole complex is built on an area of more than 3,000 hectares in area – the size of 3,500 football fields – and produces enough electricity to power a city the size of Prague, or twice the size of Marrakesh.

The plant situated at the gateway to the Sahara Desert provides 580 megawatts -- saving the planet from over 760,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The plant situated at the gateway to the Sahara Desert provides 580 megawatts — saving the planet from over 760,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The plant situated at the gateway to the Sahara Desert provides 580 megawatts — saving the planet from over 760,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The solar farm aims to produce enough energy to power over one million homes in Morocco

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