Solar energy helps Moroccan plastic bag producer reduce energy bill

By Dima Hamdallah

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EBRD, EU and partners support energy efficiency 

Imagine having the power to rid the environment of the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions emitted by 150 cars!

Well, a plastic bag producer in Morocco, Multisac, did just that.

It also managed to reduce 12 per cent of its annual electricity bill by introducing renewable energy technology to its factory, facilitated by the Morocco Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MorSEFF), a credit line developed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and co-financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

This project was made possible through an investment under MorSEFF,  which is a €110 million credit facility dedicated to financing energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy investments of private companies in Morocco, with donor support from the European Union (EU) and the SEMED Multi Donor Account*.

Multisac specialises in producing woven polypropylene bags for the agro-industry. The company believes in the importance of leading an environmentally safe sector and aims to reduce its energy bill and production costs leading to improved competitiveness, explained Mehdi Iraqi, its General Director.

That’s why its management decided to install photovoltaic plant (PV plant) on the roof of the production workshop over a total area of 6,000 m2. This installation is expected to produce around 689 MWh/ year, reducing the company’s energy bill as well as decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 700 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Morocco’s only plentiful natural source of energy is the sun: the country enjoys 330 to 350 days of sunshine each year.

To make use of this “cheap” resource, Morocco is leading a huge solar panel system initiative, hoping to construct five large-scale solar-power plants which are expected to provide approximately two-fifths of the nation’s energy by 2020.

Multisac’s adoption of this energy-saving technology will contribute to Morocco’s plans to reach 42 per cent of installed power capacity with renewables by 2020. Morocco faces challenges in the areas of energy security, sustainability and affordability due to high energy demand, which is expected to triple by 2030

“We produce around 200 million bags a year, serving the Moroccan and West African markets,” said Mr Iraqi. “We invest annually in expanding the capacity of our projects, introducing new technologies suitable for our sector and, more importantly, that work with more energy efficiency.”

Multisac obtained the lease for the construction of the photovoltaic installation by the local leasing company Maghrebail, part of the BMCE bank of Africa. With the support of the EU and the SEMED MDA, Multisac was provided with free advice on equipment choice, return on investment, maintenance and risk assessment of the solar PV plant, which ensures the project is financially viable in the long term.

In addition, at the end of the project the company received an incentive payment funded by the EU, which was an equivalent to 10 per cent of the lease value.

Claudia Wiedey, EU Ambassador in Morocco, adds: “The European contribution to MorSEFF is an essential component of EU support to the Moroccan transition towards a green economy, where the private sector and in particular SMEs have a crucial role to play.”

Sofia Zizi, Multisac’s Finance Manager, was pleased with the results of the PV plant project.

He said: “we noted results in electricity production of 831,000 kWh in the first year, corresponding to 12 per cent of our electricity needs, hence a decrease in our electricity bills. Adopting an environmentally responsible approach is particularly important to Multisac.”

In Morocco, the EBRD focuses on supporting sustainable energy, direct and indirect financing of private enterprises and infrastructure reform.

To date, the EBRD has invested €1,348 million in 31 projects in Morocco of which 44 per cent in the private sector.

*The SEMED MDA donors are: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom. 

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