Deal for pioneering solar project in Morocco
Rabat, June 16, 2011
Two French majors have signed a memorandum of understanding with Morocco's Masen for a partnership in a Concentrix concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology project.
Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, and Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, have signed the MoU with Masen (Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy), the lead player in the Moroccan Solar Plan.
Completion of the project will create a CPV segment serving domestic needs and generating exports of electricity and power plants, thereby contributing to a strategy of controlled energy costs over the long term for Morocco and to the achievement of a plan to build a manufacturing facility in the country, said a statement.
The Franco-Moroccan initiative marks the first utility-scale project under the Mediterranean Solar Plan in one of the 43 member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), a partnership uniting Europe with countries in the Mediterranean Basin.
The memorandum of understanding between Soitec, Schneider Electric and Masen is part of the Moroccan Solar Plan. It is supported jointly by the Moroccan and French governments. It has four key components:
• Research & development, involving joint work on CPV subjects for technology sharing;
• Industrial integration, through development of a local supply chain for CPV system components, including trackers, and opportunity analysis on setting up a CPV modules assembling factory in Morocco;
• Training, involving transfer of Soitec’s CPV know-how to Masen, and joint analysis by all stakeholders on the feasibility of setting up a master’s syllabus on management of renewable energies in partnership with Moroccan universities;
• Pilot projects: two Moroccan CPV pilot projects of 5 MW each, with two different generation systems. All or part of the electricity generated will be exported under the MSP
The first pilot project, scheduled for completion in early 2012, involves development, on the technology platform at Masen’s Ouarzazate site, of a 5 MW demonstration unit twinned with Soitec and Schneider Electric facilities in France. A joint basis for research & development will thus be established, facilitating a strategy of knowledge sharing between the partners.
The second project involves construction of another 5 MW section using next-generation modules at a site to be approved by the partners.
“This multidimensional pilot partnership on CPV, a promising solar power technology, fits in perfectly with Masen’s vision on integrated development of the Moroccan Solar Plan. This kind of project will undoubtedly be having a positive impact on the sector, and on regional integration, which we’re eager to participate in, alongside organisations like Soitec and Schneider Electric, which share our aims,” remarked Masen chairman Mustapha Bakkoury.
Concentrix technology has been optimised for high-capacity industrial-scale solar power plants. The technology is ideal for use in areas with high direct normal irradiance (DNI), such as Saharan Africa, southern Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and the Southern and Southwestern United States.
Soitec solar plants have already been built in more than ten countries, including the US Sun Belt, where their two-axis sun-tracking system delivers record yields. Concentrix technology is the most competitive solution on the market, offers the best design for use in sunny regions, is environmentally friendly and delivers the highest efficiencies on the market, said the statement. - TradeArabia News Service