Earth’s Coldest Regions Have Best Solar Potential, Study Says

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Some of the coldest places on Earth, including the high altitudes of the southern Andes and the Himalaya, could also have the best potential for solar power using photovoltaic technology, a new study finds.

In a global assessment of photovoltaic potential, researchers found that high-altitude regions could generate high levels of solar power not just because they are sunny — and thus are exposed to high levels of solar irradiation — but also because the low temperatures actually improve the performance of some solar panel technologies.

For example, developing solar plants within just 4 percent of the Himalaya’s high-potential region — or about 12,000 square kilometers — could provide enough power for all of China, according to the study.

While the high cost of installing solar plants in these remote regions would currently make large-scale projects impractical, the results could provide an incentive for small-scale projects in remote, rural areas, said Kotaro Kawajiri of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and lead author of the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

photo: 桔子Jean

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

2 Comments

  1. That’s nice, but we LIVE where we are off the grid, powering our house with solar in the DESERT (read LOTS of Sun, and less than 8 inches of rain in an entire YEAR), and it STAYS WARM !!

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