EghtesadOnline: Electricity demand in 12 remote towns in Khorramabad and Aligudarz counties in Lorestan Province is being met fully with the help of small-scale photovoltaic (PV) power stations, head of provincial electricity company said.
"Green energy accounts for 1.3 megawatts of power generated in the province that is enough for 170 households living in areas with impassable roads," Freidoun Khodnia was quoted as saying by IRNA Wednesday.
Thanks to the angle at which sunlight strikes the panels in Lorestan, the plants' efficiency is at least 20% more than other provinces like Kerman and Yazd.
"Sunlight should hit solar panels as directly as possible and this is a key feature that distinguishes the province from other regions," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Panels collect solar radiation most efficiently when the sun's rays are perpendicular to the panel surface. The angle of the sun varies throughout the year. Therefore, optimal tilt angle for a PV panel in winter will differ from the optimal tilt angle in summer.
According to the official, close to $700 should be invested to produce one kilowatt of solar energy. Generating each 5-KW of renewable energy can create one job.
Each photovoltaic panel with one kilowatt capacity can generate 200 kW of power in 30 days. The state-owned Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, aka Satba, buys each kilowatt of electricity for 8 cents.
"Solar panels generally require very little and infrequent maintenance. They are very durable and should last around 25 years," he said, noting that in one square meter area up to 1 kW of electricity can be generated.
Khodnia put the number of small-scale PV power stations at 64 whose owners have so far received $50,000 for adding 500 kilowatt of power to the national grid. He did not provide details.
Asked about the cumbersome bureaucracy, he assured that necessary licenses to set up plants are issued within two weeks.
A province in western Iran, mostly enveloped by the Zagros Mountains, Lorestan is one of the oldest places not only in Iran but the whole world.
Climatically, the province can be divided into three regions: the mountainous regions, such as Boroujerd, Doroud, Azna, Nourabad and Alishtar experience cold winters and moderate summers.
In the central region, spring begins from mid-February and lasts till mid-May. Khorramabad is in this region. However, southern areas such as Pol-e Dokhtar and Papi are in the path of the warm air currents of Khuzestan and have hot summers and relatively mild winters.
"Expanding solar farms and rooftop photovoltaic power stations will help not only reduce consumption of fossil fuel but also curb environmental pollutants," Khodnia added, noting that renewables will help create jobs, especially in rural areas, where people are migrating in unusually large numbers due to the water crisis and worsening economic conditions.
The Energy Ministry and private companies are building 50 big and 2,000 small solar power plants across the country.
With more than 300 sunny days in a year, Iran has huge potential to expand solar farms. It is, however, overly dependent on thermal power and renewables account for 750 MW of the total annual output of 60,000 MW.