Consisting of thousands of curved mirrors against the yellow desert sand, this solar-power plant below Morocco’s High Atlas mountains is rapidly changing how the entire African continent produces its electricity. The first phase of the plant generated enough electricity to power 650 000 homes. By 2020, possibly even sooner, the $9 billion plant is expected to power over a million.

Noor, the name of the plant, is an Arabic word meaning “light”. Its success could mark the dawn of a new industry for a country that, until recently, imported 97% of its energy needs.

The solar panels make a humming noise as they move to track the sun, which shines for up to 3 600 hours a year in the desert, giving Morocco one of the world’s highest levels of solar power potential.

The country plans to generate 42% of its energy from renewables by 2020, rising to 52% by 2030 with solar, wind and hydropower each providing a third of the total.

Read about Morocco’s Noor plant in more detail here.