PV will join CSP at Morocco’s NOORo solar site

13 June 2017



On 1 April, a groundbreaking ceremony, chaired by King Mohammed VI, was held to launch the NOORo IV plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. This fourth facility of the NOORo (NOOR Ouarzazate) solar complex will employ PV, and is the first photovoltaic installation at the site. NOORo I, II and III use CSP technology.


On 1 April, a groundbreaking ceremony, chaired by King Mohammed VI, was held to launch the NOORo IV plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. This fourth facility of the NOORo (NOOR Ouarzazate) solar complex will employ PV, and is the first photovoltaic installation at the site. NOORo I, II and III use CSP technology.

ThePVcapacitywillbebuiltupinstages, starting with an initial phase of 72 MW. Construction of this first PV phase started in April, with completion expected in one year.

The ground breaking ceremony follows the agreement that was signed in November 2016 at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, by a consortium led by water and power developer, ACWA Power, to develop and operate the plant. The total cost of the 72 MW PV project is put at US $ 220 million.

ACWA Power was selected through an international tender and will, in collaboration with the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) and the Chint Group, be responsible for the development, construction and long term operation of the PV plant under a BOOT (Build, Operate, Own and Transfer) scheme. The levelised electricity tariff of USD 4.797¢/kWh (MAD 0.46/kWh) at which the contract has been placed is one of the most competitive yet awarded says ACWA Power, “taking into account equalising factors such as terms of contract and location and country specific factors”. A consortium of Sterling & Wilson, Shapoorji Pallonji and Chint Solar will undertake the delivery of the facilities under a “delivery, procurement and construction” contract, on behalf of the sponsors.

In addition to its role as off-taker of the generated electricity and one of three shareholders in the project owning company, Masen is acting as the sole lender to the project owning company.

NOORo I (160 MW, parabolic trough CSP, with 3h of molten salt thermal storage) is already in commercial operation, while NOORo II (200 MW, also parabolic trough CSP, with 7.2h of molten salt thermal storage) and NOORo III (150 MW, CSP with central receiver tower, 8h of molten salt thermal storage) are under construction, both due to enter service in Q4 2017.

NOORo II, the largest parabolic trough CSP installation to date, uses SENERtrough-2 technology – a second-generation version of SENER’s parabolic trough system that is said to “increase the capture capacity of each module by 30%”.

The NOORo III tower-based facility is of a similar configuration to that deployed by SENER at Gemasolar, in Seville, Spain. 

Solar SENERtrough-2
Solar Schematic of tower CSP to be used for NOORo III (source: SENER)


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