The World Bank has approved the $519m Noor-Ouarzazate concentrated solar power project in Morocco
As part of its plans, the Morocco Government aims to generate energy from the sun by utilizing concentrated solar power technology.
The World Bank said Morocco is the Middle East's largest energy importer, and depends on fossil fuel imports to produce more than 97% of its electricity.
The Noor-Ouarzazate project will support the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy to finance the expansion of the country's first utility-scale solar energy complex, helping increase its capacity and production, particularly in peak hours.
World Bank Middle East and North Africa regional vice president Inger Andersen said: "Morocco stands at the forefront of climate-friendly policies in the region.
"The country is well-positioned to benefit from its head-start at a time when other regional powers are beginning to think more seriously about their own renewable energy programs."
The World Bank approved the 160MW first phase of the project in 2011 and it is presently under construction.
The new project, which will finance the second 350MW phase, includes the installation of solar parabolic troughs and a solar energy tower.
The project will be funded via $400m from the bank and $119m from the bank administered Clean Technology Fund.
The expanded solar plant is estimated to reduce 700,000 tons of carbon emissions per year and contribute to energy security and energy exports as well as create new jobs.
World Bank country director for the Maghreb Simon Gray said: "Apart from creating jobs, the construction of the plant and the development of Morocco's Solar Plan will establish a future source of reliable green energy.
"The Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Complex alone will supply power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018."
The African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, l'Agence Française de Développement, Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, and the European Commission are also supporting the project.
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