Morocco to launch Midelt CSP tender; Chinese developer to use Australian technology

Solar thermal news you need to know.

Morocco to launch Midelt CSP tender by start of 2017

Morocco expects to announce the results of prequalification for Noor Midelt CSP projects in the coming weeks and will launch the tender by the start of next year, Mustapha Bakkoury, president of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) told Reuters November 14.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) invited pre-qualifications for the design, financing, construction and operation of Noor Midelt Phase I, consisting of two hybrid PV-CSP projects each of CSP gross capacity 150 MW-190 MW.

The CSP technology must be a synthetic oil parabolic trough with storage or a molten salt tower with storage and developers had until October 14 to make their bids, official documents show.

The Moroccan government has chosen to support hybrid PV-CSP plants in order to provide low-cost power output during the day and electricity supply after sunset.

While PV with batteries are seen as the most economic solar solution for storage durations of a few hours, CSP plants offer lower generation costs across longer storage periods.

Morocco has set a target of installing 10 GW of wind and solar power by 2030.

The government has preselected solar development sites at Ouarzazate and Midelt, both situated in central Morocco.

Noor Ouarzazate, the first solar complex, will host three CSP plants of combined capacity 510 MW as well as 70 MW of PV capacity. All three CSP plants have storage capacity.

The first project, Noor I, a 160 MW CSP parabolic trough plant, is already operational. The 200 MW Noor II parabolic trough plant and 150 MW Noor III tower plant have both reached financial closure and are under construction.

A fourth phase at Ouarzazate, Noor IV, will see two PV plants developed with a combined capacity of 70 MW.

China's Thermal Focus partners Australian developer

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has signed an agreement with Chinese company Thermal Focus to manufacture, market, sell and install CSIRO’s patented low cost heliostats, field control software and design software in China, CSIRO said November 29.

CSIRO's new partnership with Thermal Focus will provide a revenue stream to fund further climate mitigation research, CSIRO said.

The agreement with Thermal Focus follows CSIRO’s partnerships with Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, the Cyprus Institute and Australia's Heliostat SA.

“CSIRO’s solar thermal technology combined with our manufacturing capability will help expedite and deliver solar thermal as an important source of renewable energy in China," Wei Zhu, CEO of Thermal Focus, said.

"This partnership will help us commercialize this emerging technology on a larger scale,” he said.

China is to complete its first batch of 20 CSP projects by 2018, representing a total capacity of 1.4 GW, China's National Energy Administration (NEA) said September 14.

The first utility-scale CSP plants will lower development costs using domestic supply but extreme weather conditions in high-DNI areas could offset savings, industry experts told CSP Today.

The first batch of projects include nine solar towers, seven parabolic trough plants and four Linear Fresnel plants, will receive a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) of 1.15 yuan per kWh ($0.22/kWh).

CSP Today