Spain’s Sener has completed the first synchronisation to grid of ACWA Power’s 150 MW Noor Ouarzazate III (Noor III) central tower plant in Morocco and will soon start final tests before commissioning, Sener announced September 26. The Noor III plant is equipped with 7.5 hours of molten salt storage capacity and is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2018.

Noor III is the third CSP plant in the Noor Ouarzazate complex and the first tower plant. The 160 MW Noor I and 200 MW Noor II parabolic trough plants are already operational.

The Noor III Concentrated Solar Power tower plant follows two parabolic trough plants at the Noor Ouarzazate site.

Sener is responsible for the basic and detailed engineering of Noor III, the supply of thermal storage system equipment, engineering and construction of the solar field and molten salt receiver, and decommissioning of the plant.

The Noor I and Noor II plants use Sener parabolic trough technology and the Spanish company was part of the turnkey build consortium for those projects.

«Noor Ouarzate III synchronization is the last milestone before delivering the plant to ACWA and MASEN [Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy],» Anas Raisuni, Sener’s Managing Director for Morocco, said.

«With its visionary investment in solar power, MASEN has secured a clean, sustainable and manageable power supply for Morocco, while developing the national industry,” Raisuni said.

Morocco’s renewables procurement process has been a key driver of CSP deployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Morocco has set a target of 40% of installed capacity from renewable resources by 2020, rising to 52% by 2030, equivalent to 6 GW of new capacity.

Following ground-breaking stand-alone CSP projects, Morocco now looks set to help pioneer hybrid PV-CSP development through its Noor Midelt project.

Morocco has launched a request for proposals for two hybrid solar plants at Noor Midelt, which will each have a gross CSP capacity of between 150 MW and 190 MW and include storage capacity. The two plants will be built by different developers and technology can be parabolic trough or tower while the exact PV capacity must be defined by the bidder.

Design innovations and a favorable development framework should see Morocco hit its lowest prices for the hybrid PV-CSP Noor Midelt project, a MASEN official said in April.