AfDB funded Noor solar power projects to enhance access to clean, affordable electricity in Morocco

MOROCCO – AfDB funded Noor solar power projects have transformed Morocco’s energy sector, enhancing access to clean and affordable energies to millions of Moroccans.

Morocco launched the Moroccan Solar Programme (NOOR, which is Arabic for “light”) in 2009, planning to source a minimum of 2,000 megawatts from solar facilities by 2020.

AfDB has been one of the major financiers of the NOOR solar power project within the framework of a public-private partnership (PPP).

The premier African development bank mobilized $285 million to help finance the initial development phases of the NOOR Midelt solar projects.

The solar power complex, southeast of Marrakech, is the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world. AfDB says that it has so far injected US$485 million into the solar project.

AfDB notes that the project provides Moroccans with energy while preserving the environment, helping to lay the foundation for AfDB’s strategic priority of “more inclusive and greener growth on the [African] continent.”

AfDB further noted that energy infrastructure deficit is a serious challenge to Africa’s development, adding that electricity shortages cost between 2% and 4% of Africa’s GDP annually, “greatly affecting prospects for economic growth, job creation, and investment.”

Upon completion, the NOOR Midelt I and II CSP plants will together produce 800 megawatts with a five-hour energy storage capacity.

This is expected to provide solar energy to more than two million Moroccans, or 6% of the country’s population.

The NOOR solar power project is a great contribution to Morocco’s ambition of sourcing 52% of its energy from renewables by 2030.

The country is currently ramping up its efforts to diversify its energy mix and increasing its green energy production by expanding its wind, hydraulic, and solar infrastructure.

According to June 2020 Climate Action Tracker statistics, Morocco and the Gambia are the only two countries in the world on track to curb emissions to the 1.5°C limit urged by the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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