A concentrated solar power project that will finance the first phase of the Moroccan Solar Agency’s (MASEN) 500MW Ouarzazate Solar Power Plant

Background: Despite a 97% dependence on energy imports and fossil fuels, the government of Morocco has set forth on an ambitious renewable energy and climate change mitigation strategy. At the cornerstone of this plan is the Morocco Solar Plan (MSP), calling for the development of 2,000 MW by 2020, starting with the ambitious 500 MW Ouarzazate project. The Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Project (CSP), expected to be the largest CSP plant in the world, seeks to finance the first phase (160 MW) through a public private partnership (PPP) between MASEN and a competitively selected private partner.

The Ouarzazate CSP Project will enable Morocco to increase energy security, green jobs, and CSP technology, while decreasing dependency on fossil fuel imports and CO2 emissions. Made possible by $100 million allocated from CTF and $236 million from AfDB, the project was approved in 2012. Total project costs (including phase one) are estimated at $1.438 billion, and will enable Morocco to diversify its’ energy sources and strengthen its energy resilience.

Objectives and Outputs: The first phase of the project encompasses two components: (i) the formation of a PPP between MASEN and a competitively selected private partner to develop a 160 MW CSP trough plant, and (ii) operational support in covering the gap between the costs of CSP generation. Direct beneficiaries are located in the Ouarzazate city area, where local communities will benefit from the economic and social development opportunities. MASEN targets 30% of the plant to be locally sourced, with 800 jobs during the construction phase, 50 during the maintenance phase. Indirect beneficiaries include regional neighbors with implement similar renewable energy projects. The project seeks to contribute to commercial viability of concentrated solar power and its potential throughout MENA. Through the first phase CSP capacity of 160MW, 240,000 tons of CO₂ emissions are expected to be avoided per annum, and 7 million tons over the project lifetime.

The project is a flagship for the CTF’s overarching goal of transformational impact on climate change mitigation, as well as a model for replication and lessons learned. The PPP was granted to ACWA Power for the first phase, with construction expected to last 28 months, from 2013 to the third quarter of 2015. As of June 2015, implementation and objectives progress for phase one has been satisfactory, with full operational status expected by February 2016.

This project summary is drawn from draft project proposals [such as the PAD, PID, SAR, and country investment plan] and may not contain the most up-to-date information.

IBRD Project Portal

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Project Details
Project Proposal | Project Document | Project Decision
Approved on June 22, 2011 (Approved Decision)
Approved amount(s): 
USD 197.0 million

Solar plant blooming in Morocco

March 12, 2014

Construction is underway on the first phase of the Ouarzazate concentrated solar power complex.


In the News:

Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project (The Guardian, October 26, 2015)
Morocco kicks off construction of 160 MW solar thermal project (Ecoseed, May 15, 2013)
AfDB powering a climate-smart and greener continent (AfDB, May 23, 2013)
Inclusive and Green: Africa’s economic ‘makeover’ (Ecoseed, May 29, 2013)