The world’s biggest solar thermal plant is being opened in the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate next month, and it’s expected to bring renewable energy to 1 million locals for 20 hours a day.
Built on the vast desert plains of the Sahara, the plant will have unfettered access to sunlight during the day, and the resulting heat will be used to melt large amounts of salt. This mechanism will allow the system to retain heat energy to power a steam turbine at night, giving the locals access to almost-round-the-clock renewable energy. The plant has 35 soccer fields of huge parabolic mirrors pointed to the sky which are moveable to track the Sun throughout the day.
The new plant is part of Morocco’s plan to get 42 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Not only is the move a testament to the country’s commitment to doing its part of mitigate the effects of climate change, but it will also free Morocco up from its dependence on important fossil fuels.