There's a solar farm in Morocco that's so big you can see it from space.

The rolling desert hills and fiercely sunny sky of the city of Ouarzazate in Morocco have provided the backdrop for scenes in films like "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962), "The Mummy" (1999), "Gladiator" (2000), and for HBO's "Game of Thrones."

You may recognize it as Yunkai, one of the cities in Slavers Bay. Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.


What you may not know is that Ouarzazate is one of the solar energy capitals of the world, thanks to an absolutely massive solar array that officially opened in February 2016.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh, and by massive, I mean ... it's so big you can see it from space.

Photo via NASA Earth Observatory.

More amazing than its sheer size though is the way it works; these aren't quite solar panels as you might know them.

The solar farm is made of 500,000 curved mirrors that reflect and concentrate the desert sunlight onto a pipe filled with fluid.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The sunlight heats up the fluid to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, combines it with water, and the resulting steam helps spin nearby turbines — generating energy.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The plant even keeps going past daylight hours by using molten salt, which is great at retaining and transporting large amounts of heat.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

All this clever solar tech and innovation is putting Morocco on track to become way more energy independent.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The country currently depends on imports for 97% of its energy but has plans for the solar plant to provide 38% of its power by 2020.

Not to mention, the plant is cutting hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions while aiming to provide over 1 million people with clean electricity.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

It's innovative, historic, successful, and frankly, just kinda awesome to look at.


Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

If you find yourself wondering "Can't the U.S. do something like this? We have deserts!" I have good news for you.

Southern California has a massive solar plant of its own. A county in Texas also recently approved a $9 million deal for a 55-acre solar farm that will provide construction jobs and a six-year tax abatement for the community.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California. Also massive and also cool looking. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Maybe one day every desert in the world will have a gigantic oasis of mirrors soaking up sunlight and pumping out delicious clean energy. I certainly hope so.

Heroes
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

For most of us, the hypothetical question of whether we would stick with a boyfriend or girlfriend through the trials of cancer and the treatments is just that – a hypothetical question. We would like to think we would do the right thing, but when Max Allegretti got the chance to put his money where mouth is, he didn't hesitate for a second.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular