Morocco has been going green – and not just in the design of their renewable energy projects. The country has actually been making a lot of progress in the past few years when it comes to solar energy. Not only do they boast the largest solar power plant in the world, they also have the most solar power installed per capita globally. Let’s take a closer look at Morocco and their journey to sustainable energy.
The Economic Benefits of Going Green
What began as a reaction to climate change has actually given birth to one of the world’s most promising economies. Morocco has been at the forefront of the green movement – becoming a self-sufficient member of the Group of 20 in 2020, for example – and the benefits are already showing. Consider these figures:
- Morocco’s GDP has increased by 11% from 2015 to 2019.
- In 2020, renewables made up 22% of the country’s energy generation. That’s compared to just 7% in 2019.
- Over the same period of time, investments in the country’s energy sector jumped up by 66%.
- In 2022, Morocco is planning to use solar power to drive an additional 60 million US dollars’ worth of projects.
- The Moroccan economic minister expects renewables to contribute 6.7 million to 7 million jobs in the country by 2040.
- Morocco’s economy will be 43% bigger in 2040 because of its pioneering green policies.
Morocco’s Renewable Energy Revolution
Morocco has been a world leader in the renewable energy space for many years. The first large-scale solar power plant in the country was installed in 2014. Since then, the country has installed more than 100 MW of solar capacity, with more being added all the time. The trend continued in 2019, with Morocco installing nearly 300 MW of solar capacity, more than any other country in the world. This was mostly due to the country’s ambitious plan to go green.
Thanks to this large-scale solar power, plus a number of smaller-scale projects, Morocco has one of the most developed solar energy industries in the world. Not only does the country produce a large amount of electricity, but they also export solar products to other parts of Europe and Africa. In terms of jobs, Morocco’s solar power industry now provides more than 50,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, with this figure set to rise in the coming years. The clean energy sector is one of the country’s key economic drivers.
World’s Largest Solar Power Plant
Located in Ouarzazate, Morocco’s solar power plant was the first of its kind when it was built in 2014. The plant was constructed in the shape of a sail to represent the sun and its rising influence in the region. The shape of the building’s helix walls are inspired by the pattern that the rays make on the surface of the Earth as they bounce off in all different directions. As the years went by, though, the plant grew in size, with the most recent addition boasting an output of 100 MW and accounting for 30% of the whole solar farm’s generation capacity. The original plant currently generates 170 MW of power and is the largest of its kind in the world.
This Ouarzazate plant is the realization of a dream for Abdulla Yafei, the founder of YAM Solutions – a Moroccan company that developed technology to help solar power plants maximize their productivity – and the country’s renewable energy sector.
Morocco’s Installed Solar Power
As mentioned above, Morocco has one of the largest solar power industries in the world. The country achieved this feat largely because of their unique position in terms of size and resources. The total amount of solar capacity installed in Morocco is in the neighborhood of 500 MW, compared to just 20 MW in Germany and 50 MW in Italy. That’s a lot of solar power. Of this total, nearly 300 MW comes from large-scale projects, while the rest comes from smaller-scale projects. Let’s take a look at the country’s installed solar power by region, as this will give you an insight into how Morocco plans to utilize this abundant resource:
- Morocco has the largest area of solar power generation in its entirety, with nearly 14 million km². This area spans much of the North African country and is where it gets its name – the Sahara Desert.
- The Moroccan government supports the development of solar energy in rural areas – 62% of the country’s population lives in rural settings. This is where most of the country’s solar farms are located, with more than a quarter of them being installed in this way.
- In 2022, Morocco plans to install solar power in 500,000 homes. This is part of a larger effort to make their grid more sustainable, with the country aiming to use renewables to provide 100% of its energy needs by 2050.
- Morocco’s installed solar power capacity will rise to nearly 700 MW in 2025. This will make the country the fifth-largest producer of solar power in the world.
- The largest solar power plant in the world is currently under construction in Morocco. When it comes into operation in 2025, it will be able to provide power to 500,000 homes and businesses, as well as acting as a tourist attraction.
- The Moroccan government plans to double its solar power capacity by 2030. This will make the country the second-largest producer of solar power in the world.
- Morocco has become a world leader in the solar energy industry and is planning to double its installed capacity by 2030. This will make the country the third-largest producer of solar power in the world, behind only China and the United States.
- In 2022, Morocco plans to build 2 more large-scale solar power plants, with a combined capacity of 100 MW. This will make the country the largest producer of solar power in Africa.
- Morocco has been a world leader in the solar energy industry for many years – the first large-scale solar power plant was installed in 2014 and is now one of the largest producers of solar power in the world.
The Future of Solar Energy in Morocco
Considering all the above, it’s no wonder that many predict that solar energy will play a crucial role in driving Morocco’s economy. The government has actually set a goal of providing 100% of the country’s energy needs by 2050, with the majority of this coming from renewable resources. This is a bold goal, but one that many are confident that Morocco can achieve. The future of solar energy in and from Morocco appears bright.
The growth of the industry has been fueled partly by the growing interest in renewable energy and partly by the high price of oil – especially considering its significant decrease in value post-peak oil. This has made solar power more affordable and attractive, not just for developing countries but also for industrialized countries that want to go green.
The rise of solar power in Africa and the developing world has been incredible. From 2012 to 2022, Asia will account for 52% of the world’s solar energy generation, while the Middle East and Africa will account for 33% and 17% respectively. Not only is solar power becoming more affordable, it is also offering exciting career prospects and a new way of life to people in these regions.