• Masen invites expression of interest for Noor IV project
  • 50-70MW photovoltaic solar plant planned
  • Deadline for submission is 6 April

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for the fourth phase of its Noor Solar Complex project in Ouarzazate.

The deadline for EoIs is 6 April.

The independent power project (IPP) involves design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the Noor IV solar plant. It will use solar photovoltaic (PV) technology and have a capacity of between 50MW and 70MW.

The 2,500 hectares Noor Ouarzazate site will become the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) complex in the world, at over 500MW, when the capacity already contracted comes online.

Masen awarded a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power International contracts to develop the 200MW Noor II and 150MW Noor III IPPs on 10 January 2015. The CSP projects will have a combined capacity of 350MW and will be worth about $2bn over the term of the power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Acwa consortium was the low bidder, offering a tariff of 15.7 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) for the combined projects.

The Noor II and III secured financing worth

  • $519m from the World Bank,
  • $717m from German development bank KfW,
  • $230m from the African Development Bank,
  • $165m from the European Investment Bank and
  • $44m in European Commission support

Acwa Power is also the lead developer for the first phase of the Ouarzazate scheme. The firm was awarded the contract in late 2012 to develop the project under a contract tariff of 18.9 cents a kWh, then the lowest ever tariff selected for CSP technology. The Acwa Power consortium signed a 25-year PPA for the first phase, which will be worth an estimated total of $1.1bn over the period.

The levellised costs of energy for solar PV technology have reduced by half between 2010 and 2014, according to the International Association for New and Renewable Energy (Irena). Acwa was selected to develop a 200MW solar PV project in Dubai after submitting a record-breaking low-tarriff of 5.85 cents a kWh.

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