Under High Patronage of his Highness King Mohammed VI and in coordination with the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Solar Impulse will fly over the future site of the first power plant of the Ouarzazate thermo-solar complex. The prototype should take-off tomorrow (June 13) at around 08:00am (UTC+1) from Rabat-Salé, Morocco, landing in Ouarzazate, Morocco, on Thursday (June 14) after 00:30am (UTC+1).
One week after its arrival in Morocco, Solar Impulse will fly to the south of the country, experiencing a desert-like and mountainous climate for the first time. This is certainly the most difficult flight the airplane has ever experienced - because of the arid and hot climate and its proximity to the Atlas Mountains, the atmospheric conditions are very turbulent all day and into the night.
Tomorrow's journey will begin with a demonstration flight over Rabat. Two itineraries are currently being evaluated. The first should follow the coastline at an altitude of 8'600 meters to Agadir via Essaouira, avoiding the Atlas Mountains. The other route should lead the airplane in the direction of Casablanca and then to Marrakesh, landing at Ouarzazate International Airport.
Solar Impulse will land not far from the Moroccan solar plan's first site being constructed by MASEN, the Ouarzazate complex, which will house the world's largest thermo-solar power plant. With a capacity of 160 MW, this thermo-solar plant, based on concentrating solar power (CSP) technology using parabolic trough solar collectors with heat storage, is the first of what will be a complex of five solar parks, which will produce 500 MW by 2015. An integral part of Morocco's energy plan, this pioneering project will contribute to increase the part of renewables (solar, wind and hydro power) to 42% in the country's total energy production in less than 10 years.
As with every day since Solar Impulse's arrival in Morocco, official visits and events will take place for schools, universities, associations, local companies and political personalities.
Although tomorrow's flight has been confirmed, the flight director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up to a short time before takeoff.