Morocco: The Largest Solar Farm in the World

Sun State Morocco: Solar Energy in Morocco

DW (2019)

Film Review

This documentary concerns Morocco’s growing solar industry. This country, which experiences 3,000 hours of sunlight a year, is home to the largest solar farm in the world.

Near Zarat, the farm employs 7,500 giant mirrors to concentrate solar energy. This energy, which is stored as hot water and steam, produces sufficient electrical power to supply 2 million homes.

Historically Morocco, which has no fossil fuel deposits, has been forced to import 90% of its energy. Thanks to its rapid development of solar and wind power, this percentage has dropped to 60%. The government has strongly supported the transition to renewables with the help of the German International Development Bank (GIZ).

The filmmakers follow a local solar engineer as he installs solar panels and batteries on scattered households in the Atlas mountains. Few of these families have access to the electrical grid, in part due to their isolation and in part due to the high cost of grid energy. They barter their saffron crop (their only cash crop) for a solar panel and battery costing 400 euros. A solar system large enough to run the irrigation pump for a large date farm costs about 3,000 euros.

With the support of the Moroccan government, the GIZ has launched a green mosque program that installs free solar panels on mosques to increase environmental awareness and uptake of solar energy among farmers and households. This project has the indirect benefit of providing mosque lighting at night for women to attend literacy programs and prayers during Ramadan.