Amanda Marshall – Current Event Week 5

Morocco launches first solar power plant



The world’s largest solar panel was officially switched on this year. Located near the city of Ouarzazate in Morocco, the section named “Noor 1” is now operational. The solar panel is larger than the countries capital city and even the one currently running section covers 9.4 square miles. This is not only a leap in solar usage, but in solar technology. Most traditional solar panels use photovoltaic cells. This solar technology utilizes solar thermal energy. This allows the cells to continue to generate energy hours after the sun has set. Thermal mirrors track the movement of the sun to concentrate solar heat rays to heat oil in pipes. In turn, the oil is used to create steam to power turbines. The panel is expected to run 20 hours a day. In its current operative state it will provide full power for up to a million homes. When the entire panel is activated it will meet all of Morocco’s electricity needs and enough leftover to ship surplus to Europe. The plant has had approximately 3.9 billion dollars in funding, and the hope is that more of these plants will be built in the future to mitigate countries dependence on fossil fuels. It is in hopes that this plant will help Morocco meet its goal of having 42% of their electricity needs from renewables. Good on ya Morocco.

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