Over two hundred villages in are generating solar energy to meet their power needs and the number is expected to surpass 300 by the end of this year’s Iranian calendar year (mid-March 2018).
An interesting point about these 217 villages is that the residents not only pay nothing to the government for their electricity, but also they sell electricity to the Power Ministry.
Some of these villages including Sichanlou in Qazvin province have been equipped with the technology since ten years ago. Sichanlou has been named as the most environmental-friendly village of Iran, a Farsi report by IANA said.
The government is now working on a plan to regularize the purchase of electricity from these villages.
The villages have been equipped with solar energy system out of failure of the government to connect them into the nation-wide electricity system due to financial considerations.
Most of these villages are far from the central provincial hub generating electricity. So, their inclusion into the hub’s network was too expensive. In some cases the costs of such connections stand 5 to 9 times higher than installing solar energy systems.
That is why the government decided to equip them with solar energy systems and now these villages have not only become self-sufficient in electricity generation but also can sell the additional electricity to the government.
300 Sunny Days in Iran
Experts say Iranians need to take seriously the issue of renewable energies like solar energy due to the country’s geographical features. According to a report by the Renewable Energies Organization, with 300 sunny days throughout a year in almost two-thirds of its lands, Iran is among the countries with a high capacity for producing solar energy. This means that the country can generate between 4.5 and 5.5 KWH/SQM on average per day.
This comes as according to officials in Iran, renewable energies have not yet opened their way into the energy basket of Iran and their share is limited to lower than one percent. As the head of the centre for development of renewable energies technology at the Science and Technology Department of the Iranian Presidential Office, Sirous Vatankhah, said the capacity to produce electricity in the country is about 70,000 MW out of which only 350 MW falls for renewable energies.
Iran says it intends to generate 7,500 MW of electricity from solar energy by 2030. This is over 7 times higher than the electricity generated in Bushehr nuclear plant. Studies show that each square meter of land in Iran can generate 220 KW of solar energy per hour. This means that allocating one percent of the whole country’s land to solar energy system will provide the Iranians with about 9 million megawatts of solar energy per hour.
Based on a report published in June 2017 on the renewable energies in the world, 39.2 percent of the world’s energy needs are met by oil, 29.2 percent by coals, 6.8 percent by hydroelectricity, 4.4 percent by nuclear energy, and 2.8 percent by renewable energies.
Though the share of renewable energies is still limited, new figures show a steady growth of the share. Today, many countries including Costa Rica, Denmark and Iceland meet most of their energy needs by relying on renewable energies. Meanwhile, China (18 percent), Japan (14 percent), Germany, and the US (13 percent) draw on solar energy to meet their energy needs. Solar energy paves the way for getting rid of the pollutions of fossil fuels.
In Iran, there is no clear report yet on the share of the renewable energies. Some experts argue that the low price of renewable energies is among the main reasons why such energies have not yet developed in the country.
They say the Iranian government needs to have short-term, middle-term and long-term programs for development of such energies; otherwise no tangible progress will be made in this field.
$3,500 for Every Single Kilowatt of Electricity
According to official figures, to generate 1 kilowatt of electricity in the southern province of Kerman, the government of Iran spends about $3,500. This is much lower than the cost of including far villages in the province into the nation-wide electricity grid. Today, more than 2,350 village households in Kerman generate 2,400 MW of solar energy per day.
The provinces of Kerman, Khuzestan and Lorestan have the highest share of solar energy generation across the country.