These firms will build first solar plants in Western Sahara

The Moroccan government has contracted a group of companies to construct three solar plants – two of which will be located in occupied Western Sahara. But who are they?

Published 29 November 2016

A consortium led by ACWA Power was awarded a US $ 220 million contract by the Moroccan government to build and operate 170 MW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity “in the Kingdom of Morocco” [or download]. 

The NOOR PV I project consists of three solar power stations, but only one of those is effectively located in Morocco proper; the 70 MW NOOR Ouarzazate IV. The 80 MW NOOR Laayoune and the 20 MW NOOR Boujdour are to be constructed in the part of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara that Morocco has held under military control since 1975.

ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian power developer, has already worked for the Moroccan government. It has developed previous phases of the Ouerzazate solar plant, which are currently operational and is also developing the 120 MW Khalladi wind farm, near Tangiers. But for this project, ACWA isn’t going solo; it has partnered with Chint Group, Sterling & Wilson and Shapoorji Pallonji. 

Chint Group is a Chinese leading industrial manufacturer of electrical equipment. It is its Chint Group Company Ltd which is referred to as the company behind the Noor deal. Chint Group Company Ltd was incorporated in the Hong Kong company registry on 10 June 2010 under company number 1467578, originally as China Chint Electrics Limited, renamed in 2015 to its current name, Chint Group Corp Limited. The company's director is registered as being Xuanhua Cheng, who has a residential address at what is stated as "a collective dormitory" in Jianxi, China

Sterling & Wilson Ltd is a Mumbai-based electrical systems provider. In 1971, the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, also headquartered in Mumbai, took a 51% stake in the firm. Shapoorji Pallonji is an Indian business conglomerate, active in diverse sectors, including power and electrical engineering. 

WSRW has written letters to all companies, asking them to reconsider their involvement in Western Sahara. 

Download WSRW letters to ACWA Power, Sterling & Wilson and Chint Group here, sent on 29 November 2016.

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