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Andy Soos

Andy Soos

Andy Soos is a writer for the news site: Environmental News Network

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Mexico's Incredible Solar Energy Potential

Ideally a location for the generation of solar power should have a relatively high level of solar insolation (ability to generate a significant amount of solar energy), a fairly large amount of economic activity to result from solar energy being deployed, a reasonably low cost of energy installation, higher than average current prices for electricity, and the potential for electricity production through solar power that would offset large amounts of carbon emissions. In other words it better be sunny and near major cities or factories.

In the US Hawaii, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are in the top 10 state locations according to Professor Matt Croucher from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University whose report (The Optimal Deployment of Solar Index)provides a ranking. What is reasonably in common is that all of these states are about at the same latitude. Mexico is also a solar energy opportunity without parallel, according to a report from Greentech Media (via Rhone Resch’s Twitter post).

The report, Solar Energy Sector, was prepared by Mexico’s energy department, SENER, formally known as the Mexican Secretaría de Energía. One of the other prime areas in the world is the Sahara Desert. Again the major thing in common is latitude and availability and angle of the sun relative to the world.

Mexico’s solar insolation values are about 5 kilowatt-hours per meter squared per day (kWh/mW/day), which compares favorably with southern California.

Using just 0.06 percent of Mexico’s landmass (or 25 square kilometers in Chihuahua or the Sonoran Desert) would be enough to provide the entire country with electricity (at 2005 rates of usage).

Not only is Mexico’s average solar insolation 60 percent greater than in Germany, where solar is currently king, but — according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) EA Photovoltaic Power Systems Program 2008 Annual Report — Mexico is seriously underdeveloped in terms of solar energy technologies like solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP) and passive solar thermal (i.e., hot water heating).

So if you want to build solar power installations, it is best to go where the sun is and installation is relatively inexpensive. Power can be transformed and sent elsewhere (with the exception of an island state such as Hawaii).

What is equally important is that the site should be politically stable.  Building a large solar power plant in a war torn land is not very advisable.

By. Andy Soos of Environmental News Network


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