Ouarzazate Solar Power Station

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Ouarzazate Solar Power Station
Coordinates31°02′57″N 6°52′10″W / 31.0492°N 6.8694°W / 31.0492; -6.8694Coordinates: 31°02′57″N 6°52′10″W / 31.0492°N 6.8694°W / 31.0492; -6.8694
Construction beganMay 2013
Commission dateFebruary 2016[1]
Construction cost$2.5 Billion
Solar farm
CSP technologyParabolic-through, Solar power tower
Site resource2635 kWh/m2/yr
Site area2,500 hectares (6,178 acres)
Cooling sourceEl Mansour Eddahbi Dam/Reservoir
Power generation
Nameplate capacity160 MW (Noor I)
200 MW (Noor II)
150 MW (Noor III)[2]
510 MW (total)
Annual net output370 GWh (Noor I)
600 GWh (Noor II)
500 GWh (Noor III)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

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. At 510 MW, it is the world's largest concentrated solar power plant. With an additional 72 MW photovoltaic system the entire project is planned to produce 582 MW at peak when finished. It is being built in three phases and in four parts. The total project's estimated cost is around $2.5 billion.[3][4]

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,[5] and Noor III, commissioned in January 2019, store energy for up to eight hours.[6] It will cover an area of 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres).[citation needed]


The project was developed by ACWA Power 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).[7] The project received preferential financing from several sources including the Clean Technology Fund, African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank, the EIB has loaned over 300 million euros to the project.[8][9]


The facility is in southern Morocco near the village of Ait-Ben-Haddou, an ancient fortified town, or Ksar, the closest city is Ouarzazate.[9][8]

Noor I[edit]

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.[10] It covers 450 hectares (1,112 acres) and is expected to deliver 370 GWh per year.[11] 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.[12] It uses half a million mirrors.[13]

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.[14] 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,[15] 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.[16]

The electricity was to be sold at $0.19 /kWh.[17]

The monthly production of electricity of the power plant Noor I in 2017 in MWh was:[18][19] January: 30261.44 ; February: 19418.25 ; March: 48605.63 ; April: 40376.02 ; May: 45445.62 ; June: 33369.19 ; July: 42276.52 ; August: 30850 ; September: 41205.18 ; October: 31973.98 ; November: 22689.4 ; December: 27628.56.

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.[20] It covers an area of 680 hectares (1,680 acres) and is expected to supply 600 GWh per year.[21] Construction started in February 2016[20] and the plant was commissioned in January 2018.[5]

It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.[22] The project will supply 1 million people with electricity; it is estimated to save 750,000 tons in CO2 emissions.[8][23][24]

Noor III[edit]

Noor III solar tower at dusk

Noor III CSP is the third part of the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station. Noor 3 is a different design, the mirrors are mounted horizontally on platforms which are supported by ten metre columns. Each platform is a similar to a tennis court. The panels follow the light, reflecting it to a 250 metre tall solar tower.[8] It is a 150 MW gross CSP solar project using a solar power tower with 7 hours energy storage.[25] It covers an area of 550 hectares (1,359 acres) and it is expected to supply 500 GW·h per year.[21] It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.[22] The CSP tower mirror field was commissioned in March 2018.[26] Noor III is the fifth ever built utility-scale CSP tower, but the second with energy storage, after the 125 MW gross Crescent Dunes. At 150 MW Noor III is now the most powerful CSP tower unit built.[27] In September 2018 the CSP tower unit was first time synchronized to the power grid. In December Noor III completed a 10-day reliability test demonstrating that the project can provide continuous rated power even in the absence of sunlight.[28] The model HE54 heliostat has 54 mirrors with a total reflective surface of 178.5 square metres (1,921 sq ft). The solar field has 7400 of such mirrors. The tower is 250 metres (820 ft) high.

Noor IV[edit]

Noor IV will be a 72 MW photovoltaic power station.[29][30] The total investment in this project is 750 million MAD.[31]

Water use[edit]

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), due to the need to clean the reflectors regularly with high-pressure water hoses and brushes from trucks.[32][8]

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. ^ "Chinese firm helps build world's largest concentrated solar power complex in Morocco's desert". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. ^ https://ledesk.ma/2017/04/01/noor-iv-lance-parachevant-la-mega-centrale-solaire-de-ouarzazate/
  4. ^ Neslen, Arthur (2015-10-26). "Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  5. ^ a b "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR II | Concentrating Solar Power | NREL". www.nrel.gov. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ Neslen, Arthur (26 October 2015). "Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  7. ^ "ACWA POWER | Nooro I CSP IPP". www.acwapower.com. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
  8. ^ a b c d e "A Revelation in the Desert". European Investment Bank. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  9. ^ a b "OVERVIEW - Morocco to add 4 GW of wind, solar capacity by 2020". Renewablesnow.com. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  10. ^ Vorrath, Sophie (2016-02-05). "First 160MW of huge Noor solar thermal plant connected to Moroccan grid". RenewEconomy. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  11. ^ "Project Ourzazate Solar Power Station – Phase I
    Country: Kingdom of Morocco
    Project Appraisal Report
    Date: April 2012"
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Morocco's Massive Desert Solar Project Starts Up". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  14. ^ "Ouarzazate Solar Power Complex, Phase 1
    Specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
    Volume 1"
    (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-07.
  15. ^ "Majuba Power Station". www.eskom.co.za. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "Morocco starts production at 160 MW solar plant - Agricultural Commodities -Reuters". af.reuters.com. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  18. ^ « https://noorouarzazate.blogspot.com/ », These data were given by a student that made his internship in Nomac, April 23rd, 2019.
  19. ^ « https://www.nomac.com/en/our-operations/nomac-globally/nooro-i-csp-ipp/ », Nomac, January 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR II | Concentrating Solar Power | NREL". www.nrel.gov. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Ouarzazate Solar Complex Project – Phase II (NOORo II AND NOORo III power plants)" (PDF).
  22. ^ a b "Project: Ouarzazate Solar Power Station Project II
    Country: Morocco
    Summary environmental and social impact assessment"
  23. ^ "Background Brief on Morrocco's Concentrated Solar Power Plant Noor-Ouarzazate". Climate Investment Funds. 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  25. ^ "Concentrating Solar Power Projects - NOOR III". solarpaces.nrel.gov. Archived from the original on 12 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  26. ^ "World's second utility-scale 24/7 tower CSP, Noor III commissions solar field". www.eurekalert.org. 11 March 2018. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  27. ^ "First synchronisation of phase III of the world's largest CSP". www.modernpowersystems.com. 28 October 2018. Archived from the original on 12 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Moroccan Molten Salt Tower Project Clears Reliability Test". www.powermag.com. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Morocco to complete Noor Ouarzazate solar complex by mid-2018". Renewablesnow.com. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  30. ^ "Noor IV lancée, parachevant la méga-centrale solaire de Ouarzazate". Le Desk. 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  31. ^ Louis Boisgibault, Fahad Al Kabbani (2020): Energy Transition in Metropolises, Rural Areas and Deserts. Wiley - ISTE. (Energy series) ISBN 9781786304995.
  32. ^ "Ouarzazate Solar Power Complex, Phase 1
    Specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment"