On December 14, 2015, the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of Noor 1, a new solar plant near the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate. Construction started in 2013, and the plant went online in December 2015. It covers 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres).
Noor 1 uses 12-meter-tall parabolic mirrors to focus the sunlight onto a fluid-filled pipeline, which in turn heats water to create steam. Since heat from the fluid can be stored, the plant can deliver energy at night or when clouds block the sun.
The plant is the first phase of the Noor Solar Project. By 2020, subsequent phases will have more than tripled its current power-generating capacity of 160 megawatts.
Image Number: WEB15322-2016
Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey