The plant has a capacity of 467 MW and uses solar energy to augment its steam generation by concentrating solar power technology.

Iran on Monday inaugurated the Yazd combined cycle power plant which is one in the world to use natural gas and solar energy, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened the 484-megawatt power plant in the central city of Yazd. The construction of the facility cost approximately 300 million Euros ($426 million). 

The combined cycle power plant will provide employment for an estimated 3,300 people. President Ahmadinejad also inaugurated a large steel factory in the nearby city of Ardakan. The new facility is part of Iran’s long-term strategy to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. In order to achieve this objective, the Islamic nation will build a number of power plants in the next few years.

According to Yousef Armoudeli, Managing-Director of Renewable Energies Organization of Iran (SANA), the Asian country is planning to generate 5,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources. "SANA wants to a number of power plants to be built by the private sector to generate around 5,000 MW of power through using renewable energy resources during the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015)," said Armoudeli.

The SABA director added that his agency has already signed a contract with a private company for the construction of a 1,000MW power plant which will use wind, biomass and solar energies.

Iran has recently increased its interest in renewable energy resources. Its first solar power plant was opened in 2009 in the southern city of Shiraz. The Yazd integrated solar combined cycle power station is a hybrid power station situated near Yazd, Iran which became operational in 2009. It is the world’s first combined cycle power plant using solar power and natural gas.

The plant has a capacity of 467 MW and uses solar energy to augment its steam generation by concentrating solar power technology. Yazd integrated solar combined cycle power station by the start of 2010 was the eight largest solar power plant in the world.

 “Iran has a very high capacity to produce energy. We have a very high capacity in the field of oil and gas, which can be converted to different energy types. In addition to that, we can make use of the endless solar energy, especially in the center of the country,” IRNA quoted President Ahmadinejad as saying on Monday.

The Iranian chief executive made the remarks during the inauguration ceremony of the 484-megabyte solar thermal combined cycle power plant in the Iranian central province of Yazd.

He went on to say that Iran can turn into an exporter of electricity to the region and provide the required electricity of its western and eastern neighbors.  The Iranian president also pointed out that a successful nation is one that can play a decisive role in the global economy.

Iran’s 484 MW solar thermal combined cycle power plant is the world’s first combined cycle plant that has used natural gas and solar energy. It was manufactured with an expenditure of EUR 300 million and provided job opportunities for over 3,300 people.

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.