Iran Plans for Solar Energy in Tehran, But Cost’s a Limiting Factor

tehran streetlights solar energy iran
In the face of nuclear sanctions, Merhdad reports on Iran’s renewable energy agenda. Time to invest in Iran’s sun? Above image of streetlights in Tehran.

These days the news about using renewable energy are heard more than ever before in the Iranian media. One of the most talked about news item is related to the production and consumption of solar energy in public and private sectors. Although the media and the universities emphasize the use of clean and renewable energy, some governmental organizations insist that the price of technologies like solar panels, is just way too high.

According to Mohammad Behzad, the Iranian Deputy Minister of Energy, the production of solar energy in Iran needs $2,000 USD investment for every KW of electricity produced, and this amount can be reduced for mass production. Behzad, who was speaking in the opening ceremony of the Center of Applied Education and Research for Solar Energy in Tehran in June 2010, also mentioned that the Ministry of Energy is ready to buy energy produced by solar technologies from the private sector.

At the same time that everyone is lecturing about the advantages of solar energy in seminars and conferences, there is a tension in a more practical ground between the City Council of Tehran and the Municipality of Tehran about the consequences of using this energy. There are disagreements are about the legislation around committing to solar energy use and high price of its production.

A Green Light for Tehran’s Streets

In December 2008, the City Council handed out legislation and obliged the Municipality to provide a master plan of lighting for the urban spaces of Tehran. One of the items of the regulation specified that at least 15 percent of the lighting energy should be obtained from new and clean sources like solar energy and also solar energy plants should be activated. But this act seemed to be an overestimation of what the City can really do.

Again a year later, the City Council modified the regulation and obliged the Municipality to use solar energy for 10 percent of the needed energy for urban parks and street lighting. This amount should increase by 10 percent each year.

However the authorities of the Municipality, who have not been able to reach the percentage so far, announce that the costs of for using solar energy is so high that it is not possible to implement the plan. In July 2010, Hossein Safaei, the head of the fruit sales plazas organization, who is one of the authorities of the Municipality, announced his organization will not be able to use solar energy in the fruit sales plazas.

At present about 7 percent of the energy of lighting of the urban spaces of Tehran is being consumed in traffic lights. This is what Mohammad Hadi Heidarzadeh, the environmental consultant of the Municipality of Tehran says. Yet, some 3 out of 22 zones of Tehran have used solar energy for lighting of urban parks.

Although some efforts have been made to start using this energy in Iran and particularly in Tehran, it seems hard to add 10 percent to solar energy use each year with regard to the present trends.

Of course Iranian good experiences on solar power should not be neglected. Previously the construction of the first solar plants of Iran in Shiraz and Yazd had been started.

Read more on green Iran:
Iran Looks to Create Biofuel
Iran Inaugurates Its First Solar CSP Plant
Celebrate Spring and Iranian New Year

Above image via hamed

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