The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) has prequalified four groups to bid to build the first phase of its planned 500MW solar facility in central Ouarzazate.

The following groups have been prequalified to bid:

  • Abeinsa (Spain), Abengoa Solar (Spain), Mitsui (Japan) and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (UAE)
  • Enel (Italy) and ACS Servicios Comunicaciones y Energia (Spain)
  • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia), Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas (Spain) and TSK Electronica y Electricidad (Spain)
  • Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt), Solar Millenium (Germany) and Evonik Steag (US)

A request for proposals (RFP) will be sent out to the prequalified applicants by the end of January. The selected bidder will design, build, operate, maintain and finance either a single project or a cluster of facilities.

The 500MW scheme will use a combination of thermal solar and photovoltaic solar technology. This is the first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex and will be based on concentrated solar power (CSP) parabolic trough technologies. It will have a minimum capacity of 125MW and will be online by 2014.

Subsequent phases will be launched starting from 2011 and before the end of 2012 in order to achieve the target of 500MW in operation by 2015. At least one of these phases will be dedicated to photovoltaic technologies and another one to CSP tower technologies.

The planned site is located in the Tamezghitene area of Morocco, approximately 10 kilometres northeast of the city of Ouarzazate. The project will cover an area of about 3,300 hectares.

The region receives around 7.22 kWh radiation per square metre a day and the Mansour Eddahbi dam is 4km away. The dam will be a useful resource for the project because access to water is important for running concentrated solar power facilities. The site is also close to existing 225/60kV high-voltage transmission lines.

The Ouarzazate project was originally sponsored by Morocco’s Office National de l’ Electricite (ONE), but was transferred to the newly created Masen under the Moroccan law 57/09 to be developed as an independent power project (IPP).

Masen is advised by the IFC. More than 180 companies responded to the request for expressions of interest for the scheme when it was launched in March. The large number of responses was a result of loose definitions of the project in documents released to prospective bidders, including the size and nature of the project, says one source close to the scheme.

The following companies responded to the request for qualification (RFQ), but were not prequalified:

  • Cromasolar International Energy Group (Spain)
  • Delta Holding (Serbia), Energy Consulting Group (Switzerland) and Socoin (Spain)
  • Entrepose Contracting (France), IWB (US), Solar Euromed (France), Novatec Biosol (Germany), Cegelec Maroc (Morocco) and General Electric Oil & Gas (US)
  • Forclum (France),  Groupe Eiffage (France), STEG International Services (Tunisia), BrightSource Energy (US), CNIM (France), Caisse des Depots et Consignations (France), Alstom (France), Nur Energie (UK), SGTM (Morocco) and Brookstone Partners (US)
  • Infra Invest (Russia)
  • International Power (UK), Nareva Holding (Morocco), Marubeni Corporation (Japan)and Siemens Project Ventures (Germany)
  • JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • Korea Midland Power (South Korea), Daewoo Engineering Company (South Korea) and ABB (Switzerland)
  • Litwin (France), SEEM Group (Turkey), M+W Group (Germany), Ynna Holding (Morocco) and Sytelco (France)
  • Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan) and Auto Hall (Morocco)
  • Shenzhen Xintian Solar Technology Company (China)
  • SNC-Lavalin (Canada)
  • SolarReserve (US) and Veolia (France)
  • Torresol Energy Investments (Spain) and Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas (Spain)