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World Bank Funding to Spur North African Solar Project

The World Bank is investing in a big way in solar projects across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Through the Clean Technology Fund, the bank is promising more than $5 billion in concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco.

The World Bank will kick-start the plan by investing an initial $780 million in 11 commercial-scale CSP plants. That, promises the bank, will spawn another nearly $5 billion in public and private financing. The goal is to speed the development of solar power in the region. The plan also includes upgrades to grid infrastructure to make domestic solar power and solar exports more feasible among the Mediterranean countries.

If fully realized, the investment plan will add 1 gigawatt of solar thermal power generation capacity in the next 3-5 years. That much power would nearly triple global CSP capacity as it stands today. The World Bank’s plan sounds very similar to the DESERTEC project, which aims to power all of Europe with MENA-sourced solar power.

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