Arizona solar energy “modules” may work well in the Middle East
The American state of Arizona has much in common with many parts of the Middle East; especially with the same number of days of available sunlight for generating solar energy. A more practical way to make solar energy available to the general public has been created by a Tucson based company Solon Corporation that has completed a 1.6 Megawatt solar array power plant to make solar energy produced electricity available in 150 Kwh “modular blocks”. Solon is working together with the local electric power company Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) which already has the electricity service infrastructure for distributing the electricity to local homes and businesses.
The solar plant, which covers an area of 14 acres, is located in the new Solar Zone at the University of Arizona (UA) Science and Technology Park. Creating a practical partnership with a local power company, which will own and operate the solar plant, is a very good idea. This arrangement can work well in other parts of world; especially in the Middle East. You can read up on previous Green Prophet articles with solar energy projects in MENA countries like Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
For example, Morocco is currently involved in a $9 billion solar energy project, with 5 solar power generation sites throughout Morocco producing 2,000 MW of electricity by 2020. Egypt is completing a combined Cycle Power Island which should already be in operation. This project includes a 140 MW ISCC plant with a 20 MW parabolic trough solar field being built.
Saudi Arabia has been mentioned several times as being interested in using solar energy to provide electric power for its many desalination plants as well as for other electricity needs. And in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s well publicized Masdar City will be powered by a number of renewable and alternative energy sources; including using photo voltaic solar energy panels to generate electricity.
SOLON’s modular solar array systems are said to provide a faster, more cost effective way for TEP to integrate solar power into its renewable energy portfolio for Tucson residents. If this integration with existing power plants can be done in Arizona, it can also be done in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Cairo, and other MENA cities. The SOLON Corporation is a subsidiary of the international SOLON SE, based in Germany; and is one of the largest solar energy system companies in the world.
The main point in the integration of solar energy plants, such as SOLON, with existing power company plants, involves agreements on “feed in tariffs” with governmental authorities; as recently agreed on in Turkey . By making tariff rates for solar produced electricity attractive enough to offset the cost of building solar energy plants, electricity powered by the sun will be more available to private consumers and business entities. Up to now, they have not had other choices outside of using electricity made from the burning of fossil fuels.
Read more on solar energy issues in the Middle East:
Saudi Arabia Plans Use of Solar Energy to Fuel Desalination Plants
Tap Into North Africa and Middle East Solar Energy Opportunities at MENASOL
Solar Edge and Flextronics Create Solar Energy Opportunities – and Jobs