Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar has completed an off-grid solar project that will bring electricity to 19,438 homes in more than 1000 rural villages in Morocco.

The Morocco Solar Home Systems (SHS) project is a partnership between Masdar and Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE). The initiative is part of Morocco drive to electrify all rural areas in the country.

“Morocco is a showcase for progressive policies and regulations that enable the adoption of renewable energy, and for effective public-private cooperation,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar chief executive, at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. “This has paved the way for our partnership with ONEE to deliver the Morocco Solar Home Systems.”

He added that “off-grid solar has the capacity to deliver electricity access to remote regions practically and cost-efficiently”.

Abderrahim El Hafidi, acting director general of ONEE said: “The solar home systems project will help us provide over 99 per cent of our rural communities in Morocco with electricity. These remote, off-grid communities are often faced with challenging conditions in energy access, but this initiative is providing over 95,000 people with electricity through customized renewable energy solutions.”

Each of the installed systems delivered for the project consists of 290-watt solar panels and batteries, with sufficient storage capacity for up to three days. Each home is also provided with energy-efficient LED lamps and a 165-litre refrigerator.

Masdar will maintain the solar home systems for two years through its EPC contractors.  After this time, ONEE will manage the network for an additional eight years. Each home-owner contributes a small monthly fee towards the upkeep of the technology. 

Masdar has also signed a share purchase agreement with French renewables independent power producer Akuo Energy to take a 49 per cent stake in the Krnovo Wind Farm, Montenegro’s first wind project.

The agreement was signed by Niall Hannigan, Madar chief financial officer, and Eric Scotto, his counterpart at Akuo Energy, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Under the terms of the deal, Masdar will acquire 49 per cent of Krnovo Green Energy, a subsidiary of Akuo Energy and Montenegro-based LLC which owns the 72 MW onshore wind farm.

Paris-based Akuo Energy SAS develops, finances, builds and operates solar, wind, biomass and hydro power plants.

Built in one phase, the Krnovo project comprises 26 GE wind turbines. Project financing was secured from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH and the French development financial institution Proparco.

Operational since November, the wind farm is now supplying approximately 45,000 households under a 12-year power purchase agreement with the state utility Crnogorski operator tržišta električne energije (COTEE).

Krnovo is Masdar’s second wind farm in the Western Balkans. It is also a partner in the 158MW Čibuk 1 wind farm in Serbia, the largest in the country, which secured financing in October.

“We’re excited to consolidate our presence in mainland Europe through Krnovo and to enter into a partnership with Akuo Energy, a proven renewable energy leader with a wide geographical reach,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar chief executive.

More than 40 per cent of Montenegro’s domestic electricity consumption comes from renewables.