With about 300 clear sunny days a year and an average of 2,200 kilowatt-hour solar radiation per square meter, Iran has a great potential to tap solar energy, concentrating solar power and photovoltaic.
In view of the fact that there is no rain in Iran for eight to nine months of the year, the country can procure a large portion of its energy needs via solar radiation.
Iran also has a very favorable position in terms of duration of solar radiation. It seems that concentrated solar energy plants can be constructed in most desert areas which constitute the major portion of the country. Of course, in recent years Energy Ministry has made positive moves for building solar power plants.
Shiraz Power Plant
Based on news reflected by local sections of media in 2007, one of the most important solar power plants of Iran and the Middle East with an output rating of 250 kilowatts was established in Shiraz. All the design works and related software as well as selection of needed parts were handled by Iranian consultants and engineers as well as mechanical Engineering Department of Shiraz University.
In 2009, news spread about construction of the biggest solar power plant of the country in Ezna, Lorestan province. A large solar power plant was also built in Yazd and until the summer of 2009 its second unit became operational. It deserves a mention that Yazd Solar Power Plant, which is of combined cycle type, is the largest solar power plant in the Middle East and the eighth largest in the world.
Given the area of the country and solar radiation in over 265 days of the year, it is necessary to build more solar power plants for saving in excessive consumption of fossil energy.
Solar energy is a renewable resource. Although it cannot be utilized at night or on cloudy days, its availability may be generally relied upon day after day. The solar energy supply will last as long as the sun.
Oil, on the other hand, is not renewable. It takes millions of years to form. Currently, oil reserves are being depleted at a rate much quicker than more would take to develop.
Solar energy is non-polluting. Of all the advantages of solar energy over oil, this is perhaps the most important. The burning of oil releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. In addition to this, the process of obtaining it may result in damaged ecosystems through dredging or spills.
Although solar panels and their accessories (solar lights, etc.) may be expensive to buy at the onset, money is saved in the long run. This is because energy from the sun is widely available and free. Today the rising oil price is a major frustration on many government as well as individual levels.
Solar powered lights and other solar powered products are very easy to install. This is because there are few wiring issues and little need to ever dig supporting trenches.
The many advantages of solar energy range from benefiting your pocketbook to benefiting the environment. In contrast, few features could be considered disadvantages. These include the current costliness of solar cells, as well as the fact that solar power cannot be created at night or on darkened days (though it can be stored during brighter times.)
Still, the advantages of solar energy far outweigh the disadvantages. In addition to this, the disadvantages are sure to be overcome as technology improves.