Africa’s largest solar farm gets another $220m funding

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved loans of $220m for the second phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex project in Morocco. 

The funding will allow Africa’s largest solar farm to develop two power stations with a total capacity of 350MW. This will give an average annual output of about 1,100GWh. 

The project is part of the Moroccan Solar Energy Programme, which aims to develop minimum capacity of 2GW by 2020 in order to secure power supplies for the population and improve the economy. Morocco currently depends on external sources for 95% of its primary energy needs.  

The country’s energy consumption increased by an average of 7.2% between 2002 and 2012. By 2030, Morocco’s demand for primary energy is expected to triple, and demand for electricity to quadruple. 

Alex Rugamba, director of the AfDB Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, said: "The project is one of the innovative developments in the energy sector supported by the bank, based on the technology used and the financial arrangements with the support of the Climate Investment Funds, namely a public-private partnership supported by several donors.  

"The Bank’s participation in this second phase will support its position as a leading partner in the development of Morocco and strengthen its dominant role in combatting the effects of climate change." 

This is the second project funded by the AfDB at the Ouarzazate solar complex. Work began on the first 160MW solar power station in 2013 and is due to be completed in 2015. 

Ouarzazate province has a population of 583,000 and a poverty rate of around 23%.

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