In anticipation of the grand opening of Noor 1, the giant concentrate solar power plant (CSP) emerging in the Moroccan desert, everyone is eager to follow the process closely. And of course, who better to tell us what is happening, than the guys who see it all- NASA’s Earth Observatory.
Just a couple of months ago, an official announcement from the construction partners- Spanish consortium TSK-Acciona-Sener, stated that the first, out of three, phases of construction, Noor 1, is nearly done. Later on this year, it will start producing energy through 500,000 crescent-shaped solar mirrors, located in the Sahara desert, near the town of Ouarzazate. The capacity of Noor 1 will be the modest 160 megawatts, well modest in comparison to what the massive project will be producing later on.
Although there are still two more phases to go, before the official completion of the enormous project in 2020, Noor 1 CSP plant can already be seen from space. We can now observe is the continuous growth of the plant, which is fast approaching that target area of coverage- the whooping 2,500 hectares, or 6,178 acres.
The CSP plant is expected to produce 580 megawatts of solar power, once completed in four years time. What is more, the incredible plant will be able to store solar energy, not only produce it, in the form of molten salt.
Things will definitely look different in 2020, especially for the European energy market. What will also change is that Morocco will become a huge player in the renewable energy business. It is also possible of course that other countries having vast territories of the Sahara desert decide that they also want a piece of this tasty cake.
All in its own time, I guess. For now the important thing is- the plant is growing with an incredible speed and it can no longer be hidden from anyone- even from space.
Image (c) NASA Earth Observatory