Earth’s Coldest Regions Have Best Solar Potential, Study Says
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.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.
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