MOROCCO – Moroccan officials have inaugurated the first solar-powered village in the Maghreb country in October this year.
he village “Id Mjahdi” is located near Essaouira, around 190km to the west of Marrakech will be the first in Africa to be fully powered by solar energy..
The pilot project was completed through a collaboration between various agencies including the Moroccan ministry of energy, Essaouira’s local authorities, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), Moroccan NGO Cluster Solaire, and French businesses Intermarche and Le Petit Olivier.
Inauguration of the private village was attended by Sophie Primas, president of the economic commission at the French senate, along with officials from Morocco’s ministry of energy, local authorities of Essaouira, and representatives from the project’s partners.
The village is completely autonomous energy-wise and is not connected to the power grid of the National Office for Electricity (ONE).
The village’s entire power comes from 32 photovoltaic solar panels, generating 8.32Kwh of electricity.
The power station powers around 20 homes which are home to more than 50 people and also powers water heaters and ovens inside the houses, as well as streetlights.
The electricity network has a battery, storing electricity for use outside daylight hours.
The town facilities include a public hammam, a water tower, an argan workshop providing jobs for the local population, and an educational center.
The educational center is equipped with two classrooms, a sports field, and a playground and is expected to provide education for children aged between four and six, as well as basic literacy for adults in the village.
Fatima-Zahra El Khalifa, general director of Cluster Solaire, a partner organization of the project, said during the inauguration ceremony that “women of the village expressed their gratitude towards the project saying: we went from darkness to light because of solar energy.”
Morocco is among countries with one of the highest rates of solar insolatio and record about 3,000 hours per year of sunshine but up to 3,600 hours in the desert.
This has made it an ideal place for solar energy and the country is warming up to it as a source of affordable and sustainable energy.
Morocco has launched one of the world’s largest solar energy projects costing an estimated $9 billion.
The aim of the project is to create 2,000 megawatts of solar generation capacity by the year 2020