Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite has issued a consultancy tender for a planned solar power plant at Ouarzazate.

The consultant will determine the technical specifications for the 500MW project. The deadline for bids is 29 January.

The project is the first in a series of schemes under a solar power generation programme announced by King Mohammed IV on 2 November 2009.

Under the $9bn programme, Morocco will install 2,000MW of solar power plants at five sites. This will account for 38 per cent of the country’s total installed power generation capacity.

The Ouarzazate plant will be commissioned in 2015, with plants at Ain Beni Mathar, Sebkhat Tah, Foum al-Oued and Boujdour to follow by 2019.

Rabat aims to produce 42 per cent of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020.