Marrakech Turns its Mosques Solar

The Koutoubia Mosque is one of the iconic landmarks of Marrakech’s old city. Its first stone was laid in 1150, and almost 900 years later, renovations continue.

The latest can be found up a flight of stairs off the sahn, or courtyard, where the mosque's visitors wash their feet before they pray. On top of the north riwaq, or arcade, a sleek array of solar panels stretches along the roof to the base of the mosque's 253-foot, red stone minaret.

“This is enough for 100 percent of the consumption of the mosque, including also for the house of the imam," says Ahmed Bouzid, head of energy efficiency for SIE, Morocco’s national energy investment company. “So this mosque is 100 percent powered by solar energy.”

The 8-kilowatt panels were installed just before Marrakech played host to the latest United Nations climate summit in November, and Koutoubia is just one of 600 Moroccan mosques slated for similar solar installations over the next three years. Morocco’s government owns 15,000 mosques, and eventually it wants to retrofit all of them with solar panels and energy efficient technology.

Stuart Pinfold


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