Morocco's Noor 1 solar plant outside Ouarzazate is among the nation's cutting edge renewable energy projects. When it is completed in 2018 it will produce enough clean energy to power one million homes.
In the desert 12.5 miles outside of town, the plant's first stage has been completed. Its parabolic mirrors will play a significant role in contributing towards the nation's target of generating 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.
Morocco is oil scarce, and is utilizing a variety of energy solutions to put the country at the forefront of sustainability -- not just in Africa, but globally. Morocco ranks seventh in the world in the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index, and is the only non-European country in the top 20.
In 2010 a $300 million wind farm was inaugurated near Tangier (pictured). With 165 turbines and a production capacity of 140 megawatts, it has since been superseded by the Tarfaya wind farm -- also in Morocco and the largest in Africa -- which produces 850 megawatt hours.
The renewable wind energy sector is bolstering the manufacturing sector. Seventy percent of the spare parts for the turbines at Tarfaya (pictured) are constructed locally.
"Making electricity is only a part of a larger strategy," says Said Mouline, director of the National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. With the country made up of 78 percent desert or dry zones, according to one estimate, water conservation is key.
One part of that fight is the ability to store water, particularly for agriculture, which uses up as much as 85% of Morocco's supply. The country has about 140 dams with a total storage of 635 billion cubic feet of water.