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Morocco: Shandong Electric helps build largest solar project

In the early morning of January, as the snow covering the Atlas Mountains in central Morocco remains unmelted, the Chinese staff of the Noor Concentrated Solar Power or CSP projects in Ouarzazate, a city south of the mountain range, have already started a day’s work despite the freezing temperature.

In May 2015, Shandong Electric Power Construction Co Ltd or Sepco-III, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China, undertook the construction of Noor-II and Noor-III CSP projects in Ouarzazate, the gateway to the Sahara Desert.

After more than 1,000 days and nights of hard work, both projects have been put into commercial operation.

The two power stations have achieved stable full-load operation with hundreds of millions of kilowatt-hours of electricity already delivered to the Moroccan grid, said Zhou Hejun, vice-president of the Middle East region of Sepco-III.

According to Liang Xinfeng, chief engineer of the Noor-II project, the 200 MW facility has the world’s largest installed capacity as a parabolic trough power plant, while the 160 MW installed capacity of the Noor-III is the largest among the world’s tower power plants.

As the first 100 MW tower CSP project built by Chinese enterprises overseas, Noor-III has put a severe test on the construction.

“But through unremitting efforts, we have overcome various problems and obtained valuable experience about how to integrate key facilities such as solar field, center tower, power block and molten salt tank,” Zhou said.

Wang Guangchun, a general manager of the Noor-II and Noor-III projects, said his company attaches great importance to fulfilling its social responsibility in Morocco, as the two projects have offered more than 13,000 job opportunities for local residents in over three years.

Khadija Agoujdam, a human resources manager of the Noor-II and Noor-III projects, said the “openness” and “inclusiveness” of the Chinese firms have impressed her.

“Unlike other companies, they are willing to recruit labor with zero work experience and to spend time in training them to be skilled workers,” said Agoujdam, who has worked for the two projects for more than three years.

According to her, many Moroccans have gained work experience and better professional qualities at the Noor-II and Noor-III projects.

In October 2018, the government of Ouarzazate province gave two awards to the Noor-II and Noor-III projects for actively fulfilling social responsibilities and promoting economic development in the region.

“Chinese companies respect local employees and encourage them to acquire more skills. I hope more and more Chinese companies will come to Morocco to help us develop the economy,” Agoujdam said.

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