Power Analysts note that a third of the world’s surface is covered by deserts with high levels of insolation and large, open spaces. If 4% of this surface were covered by solar photovoltaic systems the annual energy production would be equal to the world’s energy consumption.

Principals of Solar Power Limited have worked on power generation and related industrial and economic development issues in desert areas of Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as well as in desert areas of the U.S., notably Nevada. In these areas, land is generally available for the installation of very large-scale solar electric power systems (“VLS_PV”), i.e. gigawatt-scale, in increments depending on local permitting and logistical requirements are met.

Two issues need to be addressed in the implementation of VLS-PV:

  • Desert and semi-desert areas do not normally support large population centers that require a large power supply
  • To reach the large population centers, new power distribution systems must be installed, e.g. high voltage direct current (“HVDC”), which may become the major cost component of a given project

Once installed, such a large-scale desert-based solar power system will require no water to operate (if PV), no fuel, little or no maintenance for 30 years or more and have the following potential environmental benefits:

Potential Environmental Benefits of a 1MW Solar Electric Power System

30 Year System Life

Reduced Atmospheric

 

Reduced Atmospheric
Global Warming(CO2) 49,000 metric tons
Acid Rain(Sox 350 metric tons
Smog(NOx) 188 metric tons
 
 
Reduced Natural Resource Consumption
Coal 28,750 metric tons
Oil 19,750,000 liters
Natural Gas 198,000,000 cubic meters

 

A 50MW capacity solar PV facility, assuming 7 mwh output daily would equal 12 million BTU’s or the consumption of 2 million barrels of oil per day

A number of solar power technologies are available for installation in desert environments including flat-plate photovoltaics, crystalline and thin-film (“PV”) concentrating photovoltaics (“CPV”) and concentrating solar thermal (“CST”) all of which perform well in areas of high insolation and all of which can be integrated into the existing power generation mix, the proportion depending on the local project context.

In implementing Very Large-Scale solar electric power systems , it may be profitable to include the following in the project portfolio:

Anti-Desertification Measures

Dedicated solar product manufacturing in the host country

Training in solar electric power technologies

Integrating Large-Scale Photovoltaics into the Power Generation Mix

Solar Power Limited assumes the role of Prime Integrator in a Project, bringing together as partners other manufacturers, systems engineering firms, materials suppliers, legal and financial experts whose skills and talents are complimentary, within the framework of a consortium that will successfully address the challenge of inaugurating, operating, commissioning and integrating very large-scale solar power systems into the