Morocco’s Noor 1, being built in the Sahara Desert, isn’t expected to be finished until 2020, but the first phase is already nearing completion.
Incredibly, the Noor 1 power plant is so big that it’s half million solar mirrors are already visible from space, as evidenced by the image above taken by NASA’s Earth Observatory.
Noor 1 is set to become the largest solar farm of its kind when it’s all said and done in a few years, and the desert makes for a solid location seeing as how it has no shortage of land or exposure to sunshine.
The first phase of the plant, being built in the Sahara Desert near the town of Ouarzazate, is expected to switch on some time later this year, where it will produce a power-generating capacity of 160 megawatts.
However, once the entire project is completed, the Noor 1 power plant will span 6,178 acres and boast a power-generating capacity of 580 megawatts!
A note from NASA’s Earth Observatory:
Concentrated solar power plants use the Sun’s energy to heat water and produce steam that spins energy-generating turbines. The system at Ouarzazate uses 12-meter-tall parabolic mirrors to focus energy onto a fluid-filled pipeline. The pipeline’s hot fluid—393 degrees Celsius (739 degrees Fahrenheit)—is the heat source used to warm the water and make steam. The plant doesn’t stop delivering energy at nighttime or when clouds obscure the sun; heat from the fluid can be stored in a tank of molten salts.