Africa’s First Solar-Powered Village, Id Mjahdi, in Morocco

Morocco launched its first solar-powered village, Id Mjahdi, which is also the first in Africa on the 12th of October 2019. The village is situated near Essaouira, around 190 kilometers west of Marrakech. It does not have a connection to the power grid of the National Office for Electricity. The village gets its power from 32 photovoltaic panels generating 8.32Kw of electricity, making it completely energy self-sufficient.

Morocco’s Ministry of Energy and the local authorities in Essouira worked closely with Moroccan NGO Cluster Solaire, Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), French businesses Intermarche and Le Petit Olivier among other partners to ensure the project was a success.

The President of the economic commission at the French Senate, Sophie Primas, and officials from the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, the local authorities of Essaouira, and representatives from the project’s partners attended the launching event.

Id Mjahdi Village is the home to over 50 people. The power station provides energy to over 20 houses with home appliances such as ovens as well as street lights. The electricity network has a battery that stores electricity for use during the night.

The village has facilities such as an educational center, a water tower, a public Hamman (a steam room), and an argan workshop, which is a source of employment to the locals. The educational center has two classrooms, a sports field, and a playground. It provides education to children between the ages of four and six. It also offers basic literacy classes for adults.

Fatima-Zahra El Khalifa, General Director at Cluster Solaire, which is a partner organization in the project, mentioned how women felt about the project during the event.

Women of the village expressed their feelings towards the project in touching words: we went from darkness to light because of solar energy.

Rachid Belmokhtar, a former minister for education and a member of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, mentioned the benefits of the project.

Projects like these reduce social disparities and introduce comfort and modernity to small villages.

He added that they are planning on coming up with more projects of the same kind in many other parts of the Kingdom. This will be an effort by the Kingdom to invest in more sustainable development and renewable energy.

Some of the objectives of the project are to provide water for young girls in the village. They include contributing to the population’s education and create awareness about solar energy while ensuring the village’s independence in electricity.

Morocco’s National Library in Rabat had also inaugurated a solar power plant earlier in 2019. The aim was to provide the library with up to 40% of its energy needs as well as to boost its commitment to clean energy.

Demand for electricity in Morocco has been continuously increasing by an average of 6 to 7 percent every year for 25 years. This has been Morocco’s major driving force to make tremendous progress in providing the whole country with electricity. The country has 3,700MW of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, which is already operational. This brings the share of renewable energy to about 34% of installed electricity capacity.

Related: Growing Food Using Solar Power And Saltwater.