Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS), also called Noor Power Station (نور, Arabic for light) is a solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 6.2 mi (10 km) from Ouarzazate town, in Ghessat rural council area: The gateway to the Sahara Desert.
At 510 MW, it is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. Unlike popular solar panels, which provide electricity only when the sun is out, the Noor complex is a thermal solar plant.
Noor uses concentrated solar power (CSP) by storing heat, allowing it to continue to produce electricity for hours after sunset. Its 797 ft ( 243 m) tower, the tallest in Africa, houses molten salt which is melted to create energy. A cylinder full of salt is melted by the warmth from the mirrors during the day, and stays hot enough at night to provide up to three hours of power.
This system had been patented in 2009 by Jesús Maria Lata Pérez of Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA in Getxo, Basque Country, Spain. Its first commercial use was Gemasolar, located located within the city limits of Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville, Spain. Gemasolar consists of a 75 ac (30.5 ha) solar heliostat aperture area with a power island and 2,650 heliostats, each with a 1,300 foot² (120 m²) aperture area and distributed in concentric rings around the 460 ft (140 m.)-high tower receiver. The total land use of the Heliostats is 480 ac (195 has).
Managed by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) working with ACWA power, Noor has been built in four overlapping phases.
Construction began in May 2013, Noor I, with an installed capacity of 160 MW. was connected to the Moroccan power grid on 5 February 2016. Using half a million mirrors, it covers 1,112 ac (450 ha) and is expected to deliver 370 GWh per year. The plant is a parabolic trough type with a molten salt storage for 3 hours of low-light producing capacity. The design uses wet cooling and the need to regularly clean the reflectors means that the water use is high – 60 million ft³ (1.7 million m³) per year or 19.7 pints (4.6 liters) per kWh.
Water usage is more than double that of a wet-cooled coal power station and 23 times the water use per kWh of a dry cooled coal power station though life-cycle GHG emissions of solar thermal plants show that generating comparable energy from coal typically releases around 20 times more carbon dioxide than renewable sources. During 2017, Noor I produced monthly between 20 and 40 thousand MWH of electricity.
For the construction of Noor II and Noor III, Morocco called on the services of chief engineer Liang Xinfeng and a team from Shandong Electric Power Construction Co., Ltd (SEPCO III) in China. Construction started in February 2016 and after more than 1,000 days and nights of hard work,
Noor II was commissioned in January 2018. It is a 200 MW CSP solar plant using parabolic troughs. It has a 7 hours storage capacity. It covers an area of 1,680 ac (680 has) and is expected to supply 600 GWh per year. It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.
Noor III is a 150 MW using a CSP tower mirror field with 7 hours energy storage, it covers an area of 1,359 ac (550 ha) and it is expected to supply 500 GW·h per year. At 150 MW, the Moroccan unit, 820 ft (243m) high, is the most powerful CSP tower unit built. In September 2018 it was synchronized to the power grid. In December Noor III completed a 10-day reliability test demonstrating that the project can provide continuous rated power even in the absence of sunlight. The model HE54 heliostat has 54 mirrors with a total reflective surface of 1,921 ft² (178.5 m²). The solar field has 7,400 of such mirrors.
Built by Chint of Hangzhou (China) and Sterling & Wilson of Mumbai (India), the 72 MW Noor IV is nearing completion.
Once completed the Noor Ouarzazate complex will cover an area the size of 3,500 football fields, it generates enough electricity 580 MW to power a city the size of Prague, or twice the size of Marrakesh, protecting the Planet from over 838,000 tonnes (760,000 tonnes) of carbon emissions World Bank financed construction with a US$400 million loan combined with US$ 216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund. (masen.ma)
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