EghtesadOnline: Solar energy generates electricity for household consumption at lower prices, significantly reduces toxic gases and helps farmers with their excess products, says Davoud Fadaei, a member of the Iran Renewable Energy Association.
Speaking about the need and potential of green energy, in particular solar energy, in the country, he said photovoltaic panels supply electricity for households that cost 40% less compared to traditional power plants, ISNA quoted him as saying.
Fadaei, who also teaches at the prestigious Amirkabir University of Technology, pointed to solar water heaters as another visible advantage of solar energy.
“It is indeed regrettable that effective measures have not been taken to promote the use of solar water heaters. The government can lend $200 to each household to install solar water heaters on rooftops,” he was quoted as saying by Financial Tribune. Installing a solar water heater costs about $400.
Besides saving energy, it helps in cubing the production of toxic gases, including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide by 40%, Fadaei said.
He referred to the application of solar power in the key agricultural sector and said because most farmers cannot afford cold storages for their products, they can use solar dryers to dry fruits and vegetables.
Post-harvest loss and food waste is a major problem in different regions of Iran as well as other countries. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that as much as 32% of fruits and vegetables rots in farmers’ fields, is spoiled in delivery, or wasted when not consumed or used in other ways. This causes huge financial losses to farmers every year.
Good post-harvest practices can ensure farmers make the most of their harvest. By drying fruits and vegetables, farmers can store their harvest longer - for up to a year.
Dried fruits and vegetables also earn farmers more money, as they can be sold for a higher price when fresh fruits and vegetables are in short supply.
With more than 300 sunny days throughout the year, Iran has huge potential for expanded use of solar energy and attracting investment in the lucrative sector.
Solar power is becoming an increasingly important part of the energy mix in many countries. In Iran, the government has been offering incentives to shore up solar power from large-scale photovoltaic stations, solar farms and solar panels on rooftops to expedite the shift from fossil fuel to renewables. But progress has been slow.
“Over the past 20 years there has been verifiable scientific progress in the green energy sector. However, as Iran for decades has been relying on fossil fuels to generate power, little progress has been seen in developing renewable in our country,” Fadaei said, and urged private companies to rise to the occasion.
Renewables in Iran roughly account for 1,000 megawatts of total installed power capacity that is now 81 MW. Wind, solar, hydropower, waste heat recovery and biomass plants account for 45%, 35%, 16%, 2% and 2% of the total renewable electricity respectively.
Renewable energy is cost-effective compared to all other traditional sources of power generation. The cost of producing every kilowatt hour of electricity from fossil fuel is 11 cents, whereas generating the same from green sources costs three times less.
“So far all equipment used in renewable power plants is manufactured domestically. But because demand for renewables is low, production of equipment and parts is not cost effective inside the country. Manufacturers need government support to continue production,” he noted.
Castigating avaricious traders focused only on profit in the renewable energy industry, Fadaei said they import poor quality equipment for solar power use and that has had an adverse effect on developing the solar industry.