There’s a powerful secret hiding out in the Sahara Desert and it belongs to Morocco! On February 4th, Morocco revealed the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) that’s been sleeping in the Sahara for quite some time. In the plant’s first phase ‘Noor I (noor means light in Arabic)’, it already covers thousands of acres of desert and can even be seen from space!
This plant, in particular, is located near the small Moroccan town of Ouarzazate and it is capable of generating 160 megawatts of power. It is just the first phase of the world’s largest solar thermal power plant project that will soon include Noor II and Noor III. According to The Guardian, upon the completion of these power plants, this project will be the single largest solar power production facility in the world! This tri-plant Noor-Ouarzazate (CSP), expects to achieve over 500 megawatts (MW) installed capacity, supplying power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018, according to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) finance group.
Solar power depends on the sun, right? So what happens when the sun goes down? Contrary to what you may assume, the plant’s 500,000 crescent-shaped solar mirrors actually absorb the energy in order to heat the fluid, which then creates energy using the heat from the fluid. So, there are storage tanks that absorb heat energy to use for the next three hours of night. When the whole project is completed, it will be able to produce electricity for 20 hours a day. Moroccans won’t have to worry about solar energy running out with the sunshine!
This project will provide a source of renewable energy to a country that otherwise depends on importing 98% of its energy. That’s an impressive way to deal with that issue.
Noor I has brought new meaning to ‘party till the sun don’t shine’, and if you agree, don’t forget to leave a smile!