Solar power in Morocco is enabled by one of the highest rates of solar insolation of any country — about 3,000 hours per year of sunshine but up to 3,600 hours in the desert. 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. Five solar power stations are to be constructed, including both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power technology. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), a public-private venture, has been established to lead the project. The first plant will be commissioned in 2015, and the entire project in 2020. Once completed, the solar project will provide 38% of Morocco’s annual electricity generation.
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy invited expressions of interest in the design, construction, operation, maintenance and financing of the first of the five planned solar power stations, the 500-megawatt complex in the southern town of Ouarzazate, that includes both PV and CSP. A 160 MW first phase was awarded to a consortium, led by Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power, which will sell the electricity produced for $0.19/kW·h. The project is also co-financed by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. Construction officially began on 10 May 2013. The 500MW project is divided among three projects: a 160MW concentrated solar power project, a 200MW parabolic mirror plant, and a 150MW solar trough plant.