Ouarzazate Solar Power Station

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Ouarzazate Solar Power Station
Ouarzazate Solar Power Station is located in Morocco
Ouarzazate Solar Power Station
Location of Ouarzazate Solar Power Station
Country Morocco
Location Ouarzazate
Coordinates 31°00′33″N 6°51′44″W / 31.00917°N 6.86222°W / 31.00917; -6.86222Coordinates: 31°00′33″N 6°51′44″W / 31.00917°N 6.86222°W / 31.00917; -6.86222
Status Operational
Construction began May 2013
Commission date February 2016[1]
Construction cost $3.9 billion
Solar field
Type CSP
CSP technology Parabolic trough
Site area 450 hectares (1,112 acres)
Site resource 2635 kWh/m2/yr
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 160 MW (Noor I)
200 MW (Noor II)
360 MW (total)
Annual net output 370 GWh (Noor I)
600 GWh (Noor II)

Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS), also called Noor Power Station (نور, Arabic for light) is a solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Ouarzazate town, in Ghessat rural council area. The entire Solar Project is planned to produce 580 MW at peak when finished and is being built in three phases and in four parts. The total project is expected to cost $9 billion.[2]

The plant will be able to store solar energy in the form of heated molten salt, allowing for production of electricity into the night. Phase 1 comes with a full-load molten salt storage capacity of 3 hours. Noor II, commissioned in 2018,[3] and Noor III, due to open later in 2018, store energy for up to eight hours.[4] It will cover an area of 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres).

The project is being developed with the help of the Spanish consortium TSK-Acciona-Sener and is the first in a series of planned developments at the Ouarzazate Solar Complex by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN). As of December 2015, the plant was expected to begin commercial operation in June 2017.[5]

Water consumption for the Ouarzazate Noor complex is estimated at 2.5 to 3 million m3 per year for one wet- cooling project (Noor I) and two dry – cooling projects (Noor II and III) and due to the need to clean the reflectors regularly.[6]

Noor I[edit]

Satellite image of Noor 1 site at the start of construction in December 2013
Noor 1 nearing inauguration in December 2015

Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS) – Phase 1, also referred to as Noor I CSP, has an installed capacity of 160 MW. It was connected to the Moroccan power grid on 5 February 2016.[7] It covers 450 hectares (1,112 acres) and is expected to deliver 370 GWh per year.[8] The plant is a parabolic trough type with a molten salt storage for 3 hours of low-light producing capacity.

The cost of the project when it began operations was $3.9 billion.[2] It uses half a million mirrors.[9]

The design uses wet cooling and the need to regularly clean the reflectors means that the water use is high – 1.7 million m3 per year or 4.6 liters per kWh.[10] Water usage is more than double the water usage of a wet cooled coal power station and 23 times the water use per kWh of a dry cooled coal power station,[11] though life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of solar thermal plants show that generating comparable energy from coal typically releases around 20 times more carbon dioxide than renewable sources.[12]

The electricity was to be sold at $0.19 /kWh.[13]

Noor II[edit]

Noor II CSP is the second phase of the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station. It is a 200 MW CSP solar plant using parabolic troughs. It has a 7 hours storage capacity.[14] It covers an area of 680 hectares (1,680 acres) and is expected to supply 600 GWh per year.[15] Construction started in February 2016[14] and the plant was commissioned in January 2018.[3]

It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.[16]

Noor III[edit]

Noor III CSP is being built as the third part of the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station. It will be a 150 MW (gross) CSP solar project using a solar power tower with 8 hours energy storage.[17] It covers an area of 750 hectares (1,853 acres) and it is expected to supply 500 GWh per year.[15] It will use a dry cooling system to decrease water use.[16]

Noor IV[edit]

Noor IV will be an 80 MW Photovoltaic power station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Morocco commissions first phase of Noor-Ouarzazate solar power project". power-technology.com. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ a b Neslen, Arthur (2016-02-04). "Morocco to switch on first phase of world's largest solar plant". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR II | Concentrating Solar Power | NREL". www.nrel.gov. Retrieved 26 February 2018. 
  4. ^ Neslen, Arthur (26 October 2015). "Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Project > MA-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power > Results, World Bank, accessed 2015-12-28
  6. ^ "Ouarzazate Solar Power Complex, Phase 1
    Specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment"
  7. ^ Vorrath, Sophie (2016-02-05). "First 160MW of huge Noor solar thermal plant connected to Moroccan grid". RenewEconomy. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Project Ourzazate Solar Power Station – Phase I
    Country: Kingdom of Morocco
    Project Appraisal Report
    Date: April 2012"
  9. ^ "Morocco's Massive Desert Solar Project Starts Up". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  10. ^ "Ouarzazate Solar Power Complex, Phase 1
    Specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
    Volume 1"
  11. ^ "Majuba Power Station". www.eskom.co.za. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  12. ^ "NREL: Energy Analysis - Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization Results and Findings". www.nrel.gov. Archived from the original on 2017-05-06. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Morocco starts production at 160 MW solar plant - Agricultural Commodities -Reuters". af.reuters.com. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  14. ^ a b "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR II | Concentrating Solar Power | NREL". www.nrel.gov. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Ouarzazate Solar Complex Project – Phase II (NOORo II AND NOORo III power plants)" (PDF). 
  16. ^ a b "Project: Ouarzazate Solar Power Station Project II
    Country: Morocco
    Summary environmental and social impact assessment"
  17. ^ "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR III | Concentrating Solar Power | NREL". www.nrel.gov. Retrieved 1 December 2016.