International development funds have been earmarked for similar projects in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, but none are nearly as advanced as in Morocco, where the 2,500 hectare (10 square mile) Ouarzazate site has been marked out on the edge of the desert.
Morocco's plants will be using concentrated solar power, a different technology than the 12,000 photovoltaic cells lining the jumbo jet sized wings of the Solar Impulse.
In the Morocco facilities, endless rows of parabolic mirrors will heat up a synthetic oil, which will then produce steam to turn turbines to produce the electricity.
Like the Solar Impulse, which can fly only in perfect weather conditions and has a cruising speed of around 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour), solar power has yet to be perfected as a technology that could replace fossil fuels.
The power from the Ouarzazate plant is expected to cost twice as much as fossil energy, a difference the Moroccan government has pledged to cover before selling it to the state electricity company — for now with the help of a World Bank loan.
"A further set of loans will be needed to subsidize the electricity produced," noted a cautioning report on the project by the U.K.-based World Development Movement, which campaigns against world poverty. "The electricity produced will be too expensive for domestic consumers."
One set of consumers that is expected to welcome this new source of energy, regardless of the price, is in Europe, where many countries have measures in place to requiring an increased reliance on renewable energy sources. They are expected to be willing to pay a premium for Morocco's clean solar energy.
The Dii consortium envisages a string of solar energy plants across North Africa that would eventually supply all the energy needs there, as well as 15 percent of Europe's.
Piccard said the importance of his flight was not to offer an alternative to commercial airliners but to push the limits of what is believed possible with solar technology.
"Solar Impulse shows that new technology can do what was once thought to be impossible," Piccard said. "People probably once told Masen it was impossible to develop solar energy on that scale."
Associated Press writer Aziz el-Yaakoubi contributed to this report.