Morocco’s Ouarzazate solar complex has won a second round of funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which has pledged a total of €176 millon for the project.

The funds will be used for the second phase of the massive solar complex, which is part of Morocco’s ambitious solar energy programme.

AfDB’s board has approved one loan of €100 million from its own resources and a second loan of $119 from the Clean Technology Fund. Phase two of Ouarzazate will comprise two power stations – NOORo II and NOORo III – with a total capacity of 360 MW.

"The Bank’s participation in this second phase will support its position as a leading partner in the development of Morocco and strengthen its dominant role in combating the effects of climate change," explained Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department.

This is the second project funded by the AfDB at the Ouarzazate solar complex. The first, in 2012, involved a loan of €100 million from the Bank’s own resources and a loan of $100 million from the Clean Technologies Fund for the first phase of Ouarzazate.

Work on the first phase began in 2013 and the first 160 MW solar power station (NOORo I) is scheduled to come into operation by the end of 2015.

Morocco is aiming to develop 2000 MW of solar energy capacity by 2020 in order to help meet rising energy demand and improve energy security. The country imports around 95 per cent of its primary energy needs, which are expected to triple by 2030.

Sian Crampsie