UAE-based clean energy firm Masdar and Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable have signed a partnership to design, supply and install 17,670 solar home systems across 940 villages in the North African country.
When complete, the solar homes, along with broader electrification initiatives, will result in 99 percent of rural Morocco having access to energy by the end of 2017, a statement said.
Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar, and Ali Fassi-Fihri, director general of ONEE, signed the agreement in Casablanca, Morocco.
“The UAE has longstanding bilateral ties with Morocco, and this project reflects our commitment to work together to enhance economic and social opportunity,” said Al Jaber.
“We look forward to working with our strategic partners to complete this project and demonstrate the positive impact of improving access to energy through solar power.”
The project is funded through a grant by the Abu Dhabi government, the statement added.
Ali Fassi-Fihri, director general of ONEE, said: “This project fits perfectly with the strategy of the Moroccan Government for the development of rural areas through the achievement of basic infrastructure.
“Rural electrification through Solar Home Systems is part of an ambitious programme launched by the Moroccan Government in 1996, which allowed access by connecting to the national grid more than 12 million people and equipped 51,559 homes with solar systems,” he added.
The Moroccan government is committed to securing 42 percent of nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The solar home systems are being delivered by Masdar Special Projects – a division of Masdar Clean Energy.
Masdar and ONEE will work closely to design, supply, install and commission the project while for an initial two-year period, Masdar will provide maintenance and operational training, a responsibility which ONEE will take over and maintain.
Each solar home system consists of 290-watt solar panels, which charge two batteries with sufficient storage capacity for three days.
Morocco is an early adopter of renewable energy. With ambitious clean-energy targets, and large solar and wind power potential, Morocco is one of the Middle East and North Africa’s most promising markets.The government aims to install 2 gigawatts of solar energy by 2020, which will represent 14 percent of the country’s total installed capacity.
Masdar’s large-scale projects include London Array – the largest offshore wind farm in the world – and the Dudgeon wind farm, a 402-megawatt project underway in the United Kingdom.
In the Middle East, Masdar is working to deliver the 117-megawatt Tafila onshore wind farm in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and a 50-megawatt wind farm in the Sultanate of Oman.
Some of Masdar’s small-scale projects include a 6-megawatt wind farm in the Republic of Seychelles, the delivery of 600 solar-home systems in Afghanistan and a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power plant in the Kingdom of Tonga.