Banks turn cold on Morocco solar

Major Western lenders claim they will not finance Morocco’s series of planned solar projects in the disputed Western Sahara region, leaving the North African country’s 2020 renewables target looking vulnerable.

Morocco is seen as a beacon of light in the otherwise disappointing North African renewables market, with Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power currently building a 160MW parabolic-trough CSP plant in Ouarzazate, central Morocco.

Morocco’s 4GW renewables target for the end of the decade hinges on five utility-scale solar plants being in place – with current plans siting three of them within or near Western Sahara.

However, sources at the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and German development bank KfW have told Reuters that their institutions would not back projects in Western Sahara, given ongoing ambivalence regarding Morocco’s territorial claim to the region.

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