• Scheme aims to provide electricity to homes not connected to the grid
  • Supplying 290-watt solar units
  • Funded by Abu Dhabi government

Abu Dhabi’s sustainable developer Masdar has signed a partnership agreement to provide 17,670 solar home systems across 940 villages in rural Morocco.

The agreement was signed with Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) on 18 March.

Masdar will work with strategic partners to design, supply and install the solar systems. The project is funded by a grant from the Abu Dhabi government.

The project aims to bring rates of access to energy in rural Morocco to 99 per cent by 2017.

The Moroccan Government began the MD1.5bn ($178m) a year programme in 1996 and has equipped 51,559 homes with solar systems and connected 12 million people to the national grid. Electrification rates reached 97.4 per cent in 2011, but connecting the remaining 150,000 households to the grid is unfeasible.

Each solar home system comprises 290-watt solar panels, which charge two batteries with sufficient storage capacity for three days. Masdar and ONEE will seek locally sourced materials and employ local contractors for the installation and maintenance of the solar systems.

For an initial two-year period, Masdar will provide maintenance and operational training, a responsibility ONEE will take over and maintain.

“The development of renewable energy is one of the most important economic policies of the government of Morocco,” says Ali Fassi-Fihri, director general of ONEE. “Working closely with Masdar, we will electrify our rural communities, spur economic growth, create jobs and take an important step toward energy security.”

Masdar is carrying out a similar scheme in Egypt.

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