Concentrating solar power photovoltaic Technology in Morocco

Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, and Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, today announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Masen (Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy), lead player in the Moroccan Solar Plan, on an integrated partnership on Concentrix[TM] technology in Morocco.

Completion of the project will create a CPV segment serving domestic needs and generating exports of electricity and power plants, thereby contributing to a strategy of controlled energy costs over the long term for Morocco and to the achievement of a plan to build a manufacturing facility in the country. The Franco-Moroccan initiative marks the first utility-scale project under the Mediterranean Solar Plan in one of the 43 member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), a partnership uniting Europe with countries in the Mediterranean Basin.

The memorandum of understanding between Soitec, Schneider Electric and Masen is part of the Moroccan Solar Plan. It is supported jointly by the Moroccan and French governments. It has four key components:

Research & development, involving joint work on CPV R&D subjects for technology sharing, based in part on provision of a demonstrator by Soitec.

Industrial integration, through development of a local supply chain for CPV system components, including trackers, and opportunity analysis on setting up a CPV modules assembling factory in Morocco.

Training, involving transfer of Soitec’s CPV know-how to Masen, and joint analysis by all stakeholders on the feasibility of setting up a master’s syllabus on management of renewable energies in partnership with Moroccan universities.

Pilot projects: two Moroccan CPV pilot projects of 5 MW each, with two different generation systems. All or part of the electricity generated will be exported under the MSP.

The two pilot projects, under study, total 10 MW and will proceed as follows. The first, scheduled for completion in early 2012, involves development, on the technology platform at Masen’s Ouarzazate site, of a 5 MW demonstration unit twinned with Soitec and Schneider Electric facilities in France. A joint basis for research & development will thus be established, facilitating a strategy of knowledge sharing between the partners. The second project involves construction of another 5 MW section using next-generation modules at a site to be approved by the partners.

"This multidimensional pilot partnership on CPV, a promising solar power technology, fits in perfectly with Masen’s vision on integrated development of the Moroccan Solar Plan. This kind of project will undoubtedly be having a positive impact on the sector, and on regional integration, which we’re eager to participate in, alongside organisations like Soitec and Schneider Electric, which share our aims,"remarked Masen chairman Mustapha Bakkoury.

"We are delighted to be working together with Schneider Electric and Masen on this major initiative in the MediterraneanBasin and France as part of this program to develop the production of solar-generated electricity. Our technology is in the process of being adopted on a large scale in the San Diego region of the United States, where climate conditions are similar and where our technology has proven to be the best suited to regions with abundant sunshine. We are working very closely alongside Masen on rollout of solar power plants in Morocco and to promote the economic development of the region", commented André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, Soitec’s chairman and chief executive officer.

"Schneider Electric has a sixty-year history of working in Morocco, and is delighted to be contributing to the Moroccan Solar Plan. We’ll be working jointly with Soitec to address the needs expressed by Masen," noted Laurent Bataille, Schneider Electric’s renewable energies director. "Schneider Electric will be harnessing its international expertise in intelligent energy management systems for solar power plants, and its unique know-how in access to renewable energies, to ensure that this Moroccan cooperative project is a resounding industrial, technological, innovative and human success."

Concentrix™ technology has been optimized for high-capacity industrial-scale solar power plants. The technology is ideal for use in areas with high direct normal irradiance (DNI), such as Saharan Africa, southern Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and the Southern and Southwestern United States. Soitec solar plants have already been built in more than ten countries, including the US Sun Belt, where their two-axis sun-tracking system delivers record yields. Concentrix technology is the most competitive solution on the market, offers the best design for use in sunny regions, is environmentally friendly and delivers the highest efficiencies on the market.

Schneider Electric’s renewable energies access offering covers all needs, from electricity generation through to network connection. It includes feasibility studies, power distribution architecture design, the supply of all types of equipment including junction boxes, inverters, prefabricated transformer substations, MV transformer substations, the supervision system and video surveillance, as well as operation and maintenance of the system.

In taking full responsibility for system operation and maintenance, Schneider Electric assures the operator of installation availability. Specifically, Schneider Electric provides preventive maintenance to forestall dysfunction, and implements control devices at strategic points throughout the system. This equipment outputs information on system operation (inverter and generator module status, deviation warnings with alarm signals, etc.), enabling the operator to take realtime action to remedy fault conditions and promptly resume normal system operation.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), key player behind the Moroccan Solar Plan, is in charge of carrying out the integrated plan on development of a minimum capacity of 2000 MW by 2020, and on promotion of all aspects of solar power resources.

Masen’s main missions are:

Develop integrated solar power plants
Contribute to the development of Moroccan expertise, through:
Promotion of a competitive solar power industry, capable of maximizing local industrial integration on power plant development
Rollout of R&D contributing to understanding and development of solar power technologies
Participation in the development of specialized training syllabuses covering all needs in the solar power sector
Develop regional and international credibility as a source of proposals capable of stepping up the transition that the solar power sector is experiencing today.

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials, at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for micro- and nanoelectronics (most notably SOI : Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrating photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and solar power plants for large-scale utilities. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centres/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the company’s 110,000 plus employees achieved sales of 19.6 billion euros in 2010, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.