BIG AND BRIGHT

Photos: The world’s largest concentrated solar power plant opens in the Moroccan desert

Obsession
Energy Shocks
Obsession
Energy Shocks

Morocco, a country used to importing almost all its energy, is building the biggest concentrated solar power station in the world. The first phase just opened.

Noor plant first phase, distant view.
In the desert. (Masen)

Once it’s fully operational—around 2018, the builders hope—the plant will produce enough energy for more than 1 million Moroccan homes, according to the World Bank and the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (Masen), which are behind the plant.

Noor one panels.
(Masen)

The panels will take up an area the same size as Morocco’s capital, Rabat.

Close up of Noor panels.
(CIF/World Bank)

In concentrated solar (which differs from photovoltaic), mirror configurations focus the sun’s energy. This heats a fluid, eventually producing steam to drive a generator.

Panels of Noor 1 seen in fading light.
(CIF/World Bank)

Up to 11% of the world’s electricity could come from CSP by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency. Africa and the Middle East are well-placed to be the powerhouse.

Noor one from above
(Masen)
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