Morocco’s mosques are going green in an effort to improve efficiency, promote renewable energy and create business opportunities around energy-efficient technologies. The first phase of a government-led, four-year project is expected to install energy-saving lights, and to use solar panel systems to generate power, heat water and provide air-conditioning in places of worship.
The eco-friendly project, done as a collaboration with the German government, will be first undertaken in 600 of the country’s estimated 15,000 mosques. Ninety-nine percent of Morocco’s over 33 million people are Muslim. The renovations are expected to cut power usage in prayer spaces by 40% and to create hundreds of jobs. To increase the social impact of green energy, the project will also engage media outlets, religious leaders and schools as part of a public sensitization campaign.
Over the last few years, Morocco has set on an ambitious path to embrace renewable energy. The country is now home to the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, which started work in February this year. The North African nation is also on track to exceed its goal of generating 42% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. That target was extended last year so as to develop 52% of energy from solar, wind and hydropower by 2030.
In November, the country will also host COP22, the latest UN-sponsored climate talks, in the city of Marrakech. The green mosque initiative is expected to take a prominent role as part of the country’s leadership to agitate for change in climate matters. The Islamic world’s first and fully-fledged green mosque is the Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque in Dubai, which was opened in 2014.