With the expected launch of the first phase of the US$9bn mega plant outside the city of Ourrzazate, Morocco stands on the verge of becoming a global superpower in the area of solar thermal energy.
Named Noor 1, this phase will use a less widespread and more expensive technology than the photovoltaic panels that are now familiar on roofs the world over. This technology, however, will enable the plant to continue generating power even when the sun has set.
Earlier this year, east Africa’s first utility-scale solar energy project went online in Rwanda. The $23.7 million solar energy project at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village boosted the country’s total grid capacity by 6 percent.
The plant, which was completed last year in record time, created 350 jobs, increased Rwanda’s generation capacity by 6 percent, providing energy to more than 15,000 households in its first year
In July this year, a deal was signed between Kenya and SkyPower, a North American company, to develop a 1GW solar project. The US$2.2 billion project will be built in 4 phases over the next 5 years.
SkyPower, the self-proclaimed world’s largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects, said that the investment will create more than 25,000 total job years in Kenya and includes 200 MW of fabrication and assembly facilities, as well as a commitment of US $173 million toward education, training, and research and development.
South Africa has established itself within the top 10 countries in the world harnessing renewable energy from the sun. With its 15 solar plants, it now gets more than 500MW of power on the gird from the sun.
In March this year, the country opened KaXu Solar One, its first solar thermal plant, a giant facility that adds 100 megawatts to the national grid, generating enough power for approximately 80,000 houses, and can serve the needs of around 400,000 South Africans
The Algerian government has come up with one of North Africa’s most ambitious plans for clean energy, aiming to deploy around 22 GW of renewable energy sources by 2030, thus supplying up to 40% of domestic energy with almost half left for export.
Beyond this, Algiers hopes that the project will create 100’000 jobs and free up around $200bn worth of domestically earmarked gas for export between now and 2040.