Masdar passes halfway stage on Moroccan solar project

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar announced yesterday it has passed the halfway mark of its solar project in Morocco that will eventually bring rural electrification to 940 villages across the country.

The renewable energy firm said it had completed the installation of 9,000 out of a total of 17,670 solar home systems, as part of a partnership signed last March with Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable.

Each solar home system consists of 290-watt solar panels and batteries with sufficient storage capacity for three days, alongside energy-efficient appliances including LED lamps and a 165-litre refrigerator.

The kits are designed, supplied and installed under a project that is being executed by the Masdar Special Projects team.

“The systems we designed for rural Morocco are adapted to the particular geography, and various technical elements, such as the mounting frames and three-day storage capacity, help the systems function even under snowfall,” said Masdar’s special projects director Khaled Ballaith.

Masdar said the project is expected to be fully completed by the second half of this year.

The project, together with other local initiatives, aims to bring energy access to 99 per cent of rural Morocco by the end of 2017.

“The kingdom of Morocco is a mature market for utility-scale renewables, but the country has also made exceptional progress in electrifying rural areas,” said the Masdar chief executive Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi.

“This project advances the Global Goal of delivering sustainable energy for all, and is another remarkable achievement for Morocco as it prepares to host [the United Nations Climate Change Conference] at the end of this year.”

Morocco last year announced plans to derive 42 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, consisting of 2 gigawatts each of solar, wind and hydropower, rising to 52 per cent by 2030.

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