The Ouarzazate solar power plant (OSPP) is a 582MW concentrated solar power (CSP) complex located in the municipality of Ghessate, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco.
Also referred to as Noor Ouarzazate power project, the OSPP is made up of three-phases. The first phase includes the 160MW Noor Ouarzazate I CSP plant, while the second phase comprises the 200MW Noor Ouarzazate II and the 150MW Noor Ouarzazate III projects. The third and final phase involves the construction of the Noor Ouarzazate IV photovoltaic (PV) plant.
The Noor Ouarzazate I CSP plant has been operational since February 2016, while the Noor Ouarzazate II and III CSP plants commenced operations from January 2018 and December 2018, respectively. Construction of the NOOR IV PV power plant was commenced in April 2017.
OSPP is set to become the largest multi-technology green power production facility in the world, upon commissioning. It will generate enough power required for up to 1.3 million homes, while offsetting more than 800,000 tonnes (t) of CO2 emissions a year.
ACWA Power Ouarzazate, a consortium of ACWA Power, Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Aries, and TSK, is the project developer.
Ouarzazate solar power plant location
The solar project is a part of the Moroccan Government’s Solar Energy Programme initiated to develop 2GW of solar power by 2020.
The solar power complex is located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 10km from the ancient city of Ouarzazate, covering an area of 3,000ha. It is surrounded by rugged canyons with high solar radiance, making it one of the best places for the development of a solar power project.
Noor concentrated solar power complex details
Noor Ouarzazate I CSP plant is equipped with 500,000 SENER trough cylindrical parabolic troughs, extending in 1,112 acres. Operational since February 2016, the first phase delivers up to 520GWh of energy a year.
The Noor II features SENERtrough®-2 parabolic trough collectors, while the Noor III CSP plant is proposed to use the central tower technology with salt receivers.
Commissioned in January 2018, the Noor-2 CSP plant is installed with more than 100 rows of thermo-solar cylindrical parabolic troughs. It uses dry-cooling system, which minimizes water consumption for cooling the mirrors.
The consortium of NOMAC, a subsidiary of ACWA Power, and MASEN is responsible for the operation of the second phase projects of the solar complex.
The $862m Noor Ouarzazate III CSP plant, which began commercial operations in December 2018, comprises 7,400 HE54 heliostats to capture the sunlight.
It features a power tower and a molten salt storage system, which enables the production of electricity for 7.5 hours even without solar radiation. In addition, it features SENER’s integrated control system for the receiver and solar field.
The Noor I, II, and III CSP plants use Siemens SST-700 and SST-900 model steam turbines and a generator.
Noor Ouarzazate IV PV power plant details
The Noor Ouarzazate IV power plant will be a 72MW PV power project, which will also be the first large photovoltaic power plant in Morocco. It is being developed under NOOR PV I Program, which also includes the 80MW NOOR Laayoune and 20MW NOOR Boujdour plants.
ACWA Power is developing the project with support from MASEN and utility company Chint Group. Estimated to cost $220m, the facility is expected to generate electricity sufficient to meet the needs of 1.1 million people.
Off-take and transmission of power generated by OSPP
MASEN will off take the power generated through the project under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The generated power will be transmitted through a pre-existing 225kV transmission line located approximately 3km from the project site.
The African Development Bank provided €100m ($128m) towards the development of Phase I of the Noor Ouarzazate solar complex. It also received $100m from Climate Investment Funds.
The co-financiers include the French Development Agency (AFD), European Investment Bank (EIB), World Bank, Clean Technology Fund (CTF), Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) of the European Union (EU), Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufbau (KFW) Bankengruppe, and the German Ministry of Environment (BMU).
KfW Bankengruppe financed 659 million dirhams (approximately $65m) for the Noor Ouarzazate IV project.
In June 2018, the World Bank approved an additional funding of $100m for the Noor-Ouarzazate CSP project.
Water required for the complex is being supplied from the Mansour Eddabhi dam, which is located 4km south of the complex.
Contractors involved in the Ouarzazate solar power plant
Siemens is the supplier of three turbo generator sets including two steam turbines and one generator.
The consortium of TSK Electrónica y Electricidad, Acciona Infraestructuras, Acciona Ingeniería, and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Noor Ouarzazate I power plant.
Sener and Sepco III are responsible for the construction of the Noor II and Noor III CSP plants, under a contract worth more than €500m ($529m).
The consortium comprising Sterling & Wilson, Shapoorji Pallonji, and Chint Solar was awarded the Noor IV construction contract.
Other prominent contractors involved in the project include Ciments du Maroc, ISOVER Spain, Maracof, and Kipp & Zonen.