Solar Energy News – Iran Completes First Solar Energy Plant

Some may doubt Iran’s intentions with nuclear power, but it’s hard to argue with these results on their solar intent. The Shiraz solar power plant was recently completed, and produces a modest 250 kilowatts of electricity. The completion is four years behind schedule, but breaks new ground in its design.

Rather than photo cells, their first solar energy plant is solar-thermal. Parabolic mirrors create a trough that cradles a tube that runs its entire length. The mirrors gather and focus the sunlight onto the tube. Within that tube, a liquid transfers the heat of the sun to a generator that produces steam and electricity.

The plant was constructed of domestic materials and labor there in Shiraz, within the Fars province. This solar-thermal electric plant is the first to generate electricity, but Iran already has some 4000 smaller solar-thermal installations throughout the country, providing solar-heated water for residents and public baths.

One 40-home village in Iran gets its power from photovoltaic cells, but in the overall Iran is focusing on solar-thermal technology. Part of their wisdom is likely in that they can produce the entire array domestically with thermal-solar, rather than purchasing photovoltaic equipment from other nations. Their independence is inspiring, and may go a long way towards explaining their insistence upon developing their own nuclear power as well.

For a nation to develop and produce their own domestic system in this fashion is commendable. We salute Iran for their efforts in going Green!