EghtesadOnline: Construction of a 100-megawatt solar power plant started in Semnan on Wednesday.
Built on 15,000 hectares of land by the private sector, the first phase of Shahid Hamid Bakeri photovoltaic station with a capacity of 10 MW is expected to come online within a year and cost $7.7 million, the Energy Ministry news portal Paven reported.
Using solar energy is effective in reducing pollution and costs. Thermal power plants, which generate 80% of electricity in Iran, are seen as a major source of air pollution due to emission of greenhouse gasses. They are also costly.
If the same amount of electricity the 10 MW solar station can generate in an hour was to be produced in a thermal power plant, close to 3,000 cubic meters of gas would be consumed, according to Financial Tribune.
With a hot desert climate and more than 300 sunny days, Semnan Province in the northeast has great potential for harnessing solar and wind energy.
Studies are underway for the construction of a 50 MW wind power plant in Damghan, Semnan Province.
Small Solar Units
Semnan Province Electric Power Distribution Company has been setting up 100 small-scale solar farms for rural homes since last year to help create jobs in the underdeveloped regions and underpin family income, and by extension discourage emigration.
Due to tough economic conditions, water crisis, draught and joblessness, people from rural areas in unusually big numbers have been migrating to the cities and in the process creating new problems for urban managers.
Each photovoltaic panel with one kilowatt capacity can generate 200 KW in 30 days. The state-owned Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, (Satba) buys each kilowatt for about 5 cents, meaning households selling one kilowatt can earn around $10 per month.
A 5KW solar system can produce 1,000 KW a month and households with such a rooftop installation can make $50 per month.
Installing a 1KW panel costs $700, thus households need $3,500 for panels with five kilowatt capacity.
Homes in small towns wanting to set up rooftop systems are eligible for up to $3,000 in loan from the National Development Fund of Iran.
Of the total 81,000 MW production capacity, only 850 MW comes from renewables and the nation is taking effective measures to boost green energy.
The number of private firms producing electricity from renewable sources — mainly wind and solar — has increased in recent years.
Private companies have invested $1 billion in the gradually expanding renewable sector, mainly solar and wind. Due to government funding constraints, private firms have been urged to play a bigger role in promoting clean energy.
There are more than 115 large solar farms in Iran, and around 3,500 smaller installations in cities and villages. Over 2,500 rooftop photovoltaic power units will be set up by next year, mainly in deprived and rural areas.