• Masen considering two 50MW solar photovoltaic projects in Western Sahara
  • They could be tendered alongside Noor Ouarzazate in late 2015
  • European institutional investors are reluctant to finance projects in Western Sahara

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy is considering tendering two 50MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plants alongside Noor Ouarzazate IV.

The plants will be located in two 200 hectare sites near Boujdour and Laayoun, in the Western Sahara.

The projects would be tendered on an independent power producer (IPP) model and involve design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the plants.

However, European institutional investors are reluctant to be involved with projects in the Western Sahara, as it is a disputed territory.

A Swedish government pension fund blacklisted US fertiliser company Agrium for its activities there.

The Western Sahara is claimed by the government of Morocco and the Algeria-backed indigenous Saharawi group, the Polisario Front.

Morocco controls most of the region, but neither entity’s sovereignty is recognised by the UN.

Masen expects to issue a tender for the Noor IV IPP in late 2015, and is yet to decide if the additional projects will go ahead.

The planned solar PV IPP will have a capacity of 50-70MW.

Masen will make 130 hectares or more of land available and provide infrastructure, including a 225kV substation for the Noor IV project.

Masen is also considering a second Noor PV phase. It could include the establishment of a factory producing PV modules to supply the projects and create local value.

Masen is planning a solar complex in Midelt in central Morocco. The capacity and technology are still under study. German consultants Gopa will provide technical advisory services.

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