Morocco has secured $25 million in funding for a hybrid solar power project. The funding is in the form of a loan from the Climate Investment Funds' Clean Technology Fund (CIF CTF).
The money will be used for a project for the generation of solar power through an innovative hybrid Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) solution.
“In 2015, the world saw an important shift in CSP investment from the developed to the developing world, particularly in Morocco,” said Anthony Nyong, Director, Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
Morocco's Midelt Phase I Concentrated Solar Power Project is being supported by the AfDB and the World Bank.
“Morocco's path-changing Noor CSP program under CTF, for which we serve as implementing agency, has been a critical element of that shift. This new project, which will be modeled on the Noor operational and financial structure, will increase the development of solar energy and further help diversify the country's energy mix and enhance its energy security. We believe that the project can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond,” added Nyong.
The project consists of two separate CSP plants, each with 150-190 MW CSP capacity and a minimum of five hours of thermal storage. The envisaged installed capacity of the PV component could reach approximately 150-210 MW, making the total capacity of each of the proposed plants 300-400 MW and the total capacity of this first phase 600-800 MW.
The project is also a Public-Private Partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) and private sector sponsors - with a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer project structure and implementation approach.
Selected sponsors are expected to form a Special Purpose Company to build and operate the plants and sell the generated electricity to MASEN under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The process will be designed to allow the award of the plants to different bidders.
It's hoped that the support from the CTF and AfDB will be critical in driving down the cost of the project's capital and lowering the Levelized Cost of Electricity.
This is not the first such large-scale solar power project in Afrika, as recently in 2017, Mozambique's first ever utility-scale solar power plant secured financing to the value of $55 million, from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC).