The Moroccan Solar Agency (Masen) has invited companies to submit expressions of interest (EOIs) in the first phase of the Noor Midelt solar project, which is planned to use a hybrid mix of photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies.

The work will involve the construction of one or more solar power plants with an installed capacity of 400MW. The facilities will contain PV and CSP technologies with storage. Masen is seeking to implement the hybrid technologies and storage to increase the availability of electricity in the evening.

The project owner has set a deadline of 1 February for the EOIs.

The Noor Midelt project will be developed as an independent power project (IPP). The framework will include design, financing, construction, and operation and maintenance of one or more solar plants. Each plant will be built, owned, operated and transferred (BOOT) under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA), which will be entered into between Masen and the project company.

As with Morocco’s other solar IPP schemes, Masen will buy the electricity at the price offered by the successful bidder, and will sell it to the Office National de l’Electricite et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) through a second PPA between Masen and ONEE.

Masen will provide the site infrastructure, including roads, water and power.

The solar agency is planning to issue requests for qualifications (RFQs) by the end of the second quarter, with the issuance of the first request for proposals (RFPs) in the third quarter of 2016. The project owner is planning a two-phase RFP process, with the second RFPs to be issued by the second quarter of 2017.

The project owner is planning to award the contract in the third or fourth quarter of 2017, and is hoping to reach financial close by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

MEED recently reported that Masen had prequalified 20 groups to participate in the tender for its first major PV solar IPP.

The Noor PV1 project will have a total capacity of 170MW, and will located over three sites at Ouarzazate, Laayoune and Boujdour. Masen has already awarded deals for more than 500MW of CSP schemes, for the Noor 1, 2 and 3 projects, at the Ouarzazate site.