Solar Energy: Morocco’s Noor Ouarzazate III Plant Switched on

Morocco’s Noor Ouarzazate III solar thermal power plant has been powered up to carry out necessary technical functional tests before its delivery planned for the last quarter of 2018.

This plant is part of the Noor solar complex, the largest in the world. It is the second one designed and built by Spanish engineering company SENER using its own central receiver tower and molten salt heat storage technology.

In this giant solar power farm expected to provide electricity for 1.1 million people, SENER forms part of the turnkey building consortium for the Noor Ouarzazate I and Noor Ouarzazate II plants, both of which use SENER parabolic trough technology, and Noor Ouarzazate III, with additional advanced innovations.

In the Noor Ouarzazate III thermal power plant, SENER is responsible for the plant’s conceptual and basic engineering, detail engineering and equipment supply for the thermal storage system, engineering and construction of the solar field and the molten salt receiver, as well as the commissioning of the entire plant.

It carried out recently the start up of the solar receiver, pointing the heliostats towards the receiver located on the top of the tower, at a height of 250 m, to pre-heat it to 320ºC.

This 600+ MW high-powered receiver has been developed in collaboration with Moroccan companies and, once in operation, it will enable the plant to reach a gross production of 150 MW and 7.5 hours of heat storage.

With its 7,400 heliostats (HE54) and salt receiver technology, this central receiver plant will produce enough solar power to meet the demands of 120,000 homes per year and enable Morocco to avoid annual emissions of 130,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Morocco is planning to generate 42 pc of its energy from renewables by 2020, with one-third of that total coming from solar, wind and hydropower. As part of a low-carbon economy endeavor, the North African country set an ambitious target of bringing the share of renewable energy to 52 pc of total energy consumption by 2020.

Morocco is developing renewable energy because it imports over 90 pc of its fossil fuel needs and spends 10-12 pc of its gross domestic product on energy imports.

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