Morocco has moved a step further towards sustainable energy future by unveiling one of the largest solar plants in the world. The plant, named Noor 1, is the first phase of the Noor project, which is touted to be world's largest concentrated solar power plant by its makers.

The Noor 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, located some 20km outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, was opened on 4 February by King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The CSP plant generates solar power by concentrating a large area of sunlight using mirrors or lenses. Work on Noor 1 began in October 2015.

Noor 1 is expected to contribute around 160MW of electricity to the three-phase Noor project which will generate over 500MW of electricity on completion. The Ouarzazate solar complex, supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank and other partners, will be able to power more than a million households by 2018, according to an official release.

"At its outset, NOORo (Noor Ouarzazate plant ) is an elegant achievement, because it helps answer the crying need for increased access to basic energy services for the citizens of Africa, at the same time that it breaks ground on low-carbon and sustainable energy use," Kurt Lonsway, AfDB's environment and climate change division manager, said in a statement. "We believe that NOORo will serve as a powerful example for Africa and the world."

The project will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region by 19 million tons over 25 years. This way, it will keep the region in line with the nation's commitments under the agreement on climate change at COP21 in Paris, he added.

The Noor Ouarzazate plant will further boost Morocco's economy by contributing to industrial development and helping create an estimated 2,500 jobs.