11
June

Solar power, an optimal source of energy in places where there is lack of water



solar-energy-source-lack-of-water

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is blessed with a quantity of annual sunlight and until recent years it has been more of a liability than an asset, as large areas of the region’s land is too dry for agriculture.
As the population continues to grow (in most MENA countries over 50% of the population is below the age of 25) and as hydrocarbon reserves start to get depleted, the region’s leaders are looking at alternative sources of energy.

The increase in the population and industrial development in these countries results in an increase in the demand for water. Countries are increasingly turning to desalination of seawater and brackish water sources in order to provide people with clean, fresh drinking water, but these processes are very energy intensive. Desalinated water currently accounts for 0.6% of global water supply. The Middle East and North Africa region accounts for about 38% of the global desalination capacity.

Fossil-fuel power plants use fresh and sea water in their process of cooling and this aspect conflicts with the shortage of water in this regions. By switching to renewable energy the countries of Middle East and North Africa could solve their energy dependence problems also saving a lot of water. Especially solar PV plants require little or no water to install and maintain.

A 1 MWp power plant for example can produce over 2,000,000 kWh/year of clean energy in Middle East and North Africa region. The over 2,800 pv modules that make up the system could be a problem if cleaning process needs water, but nowadays dry cleaning systems have been developed and the use of water has been reduced to a minimum.

Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan ranked among the top countries, measured by lack of freshwater and solar energy potential, that could benefit from such a switch.

 


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