Morocco has commissioned 160MW Noor 1, the first phase of the world’s largest solar power plant located near Ouarzazate city.
Once operational, the three-phase Noor-Ouarzazate CSP will produce around 580MW of electricity, which will meet the needs of around one million people by 2018.
The International Energy Agency estimates that up to 11% of the world’s electricity generation in 2050 could come from CSP.
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy had received around $3bn fund from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), European financing institutions and the World Bank to develop Noor-Ouarzazate complex.
The utility-scale solar energy complex is part of the Moroccan Solar Energy Programme, which aims to install 2GW of solar power by 2020.
World Bank Country Maghreb and Malta director Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said: "With this bold step toward a clean energy future, Morocco is pioneering a greener development and developing a cutting edge solar technology.
"The returns on this investment will be significant for the country and its people, by enhancing energy security, creating a cleaner environment, and encouraging new industries and job creation."
Reuters reported that power generated from the first phase will be sold at $0.19 per kilowatt / hour.
The facility is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 760,000t a year and lower the country’s energy dependence by around two and half million tons of oil.