Moroccan City Ouarzazate will become the home of the largest solar complex in the world, which is expected to power one million homes—and maybe some of Europe—with solar energy once it’s complete. Morocco, located along the northwestern African coast, is in prime position to take advantage of solar technology, and they’ve committed to one of the biggest such projects in the world.
The solar complex is a $9 billion costing project made up of four plants also powered by water and wind that will provide almost half of Morocco’s electricity by 2020.
The world’s largest concentrated solar power plant comes almost 30 years after German particle physicist Gerhard Knies estimated that the entire world could be powered for a year just from the energy the world’s deserts get in a few hours.
It will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. “The mirror technology it uses is less widespread and more expensive than the photovoltaic. The first phase of the project, called Noor 1, comprises 500,000 solar mirrors that track the sun throughout the day, with a maximum capacity of 160MW. When the full project finishes, it will be able to generate up to 580MW.
Each parabolic mirror is 12 meters high and focused on a steel pipeline carrying a ‘heat transfer solution’ (HTF) that is warmed to 393C as it snakes along the trough before coiling into a heat engine. There, it is mixed with water to create steam that turns energy-generating turbines.
Morocco’s environment minister, Hakima el-Haite, believes that solar energy could have the same impact on the region this century that oil production had in the last. But the $9bn (£6bn) project to make her country’s deserts boom was triggered by more immediate concerns, reported by The Guardian