Tenders for $2.3bn Moroccan solar plants imminent

Bids to open soon after country secures $895.7m loan for projects

Morocco's 200 MW concentrated solar plant will employ parabolic mirror technology.
Morocco's 200 MW concentrated solar plant will employ parabolic mirror technology.

Tenders for construction of two solar plants in Morocco worth a total of $2.3bn (€1.7bn) will be issued in the coming weeks, Mustapha Bakoury, the head of Morocco’s solar energy agency Masen, has announced.

Bakoury was speaking at the Desertec industrial initiative (Dii) Conference held outside Rabat where further details of the two projects – one of 200 megawatts (MW) and the other of 100 MW near the southern city of Ouarzazate – were revealed.

The projects will be partly-funded by an $895.7m (€654m) loan secured from German state-owned bank KFW, Reuters has learned from banking sources.

Masen said consortia led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and ACWA Power had been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.

The three groups are also pre-qualified for the 100 MW (Noor III) tender, along with another consortium led by France’s EDF.

The authority has chosen parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MW concentrated solar plant with a contract estimated at $1.4bn (€1bn), while the 100 MW plant, expected to reach $960m (€700m), will be built as a solar power tower.

The sources added that KFW will lend $452m (330m) for Noor II, and $443.9m (€324m) for Noor III.

KFW would be by far the largest lender to the second phase of Ouarzazate 500 MW project, the sources said.

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power is already building the first 160 MW plant in the Ouarzazate area under a government initiative to produce 2 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38% of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity.

Morocco is expecting to get around $411m (€300m) from the World Bank and about the same from the African Development Bank and from the European Investment Bank, as well as other smaller loans from the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund, the French Development Agency and the European Union to seal the contracts financing.

Sources added that all the lenders would give the necessary funding, although this had not yet been announced.

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