Cold regions could be the best source for solar energy

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You would have thought that hot sun drenched deserts are the best places to harness solar power – but think again. New research from Japan indicates that cold, high-altitude environments could be even better.

According to findings to be published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology, the Himalayas could generate enough electricity from photovoltaic cells to supply energy to India and China.

The study by by Kotaro Kawajiri and colleagues at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, states that solar arrays in less then four per cent of the Himalayan region could produce about 3.1 trillion kWh of energy – a staggering amount equivalent to China’s total electricity consumption in 2007.

The Andes and Antarctica could also be ideal landscapes for solar power too, though Antarctica does spend about half the year in darkness.

The study emphasised that geographic location plays a key role in renewable solar power, and whilst hot regions are ideal, the researchers also found that “many cold regions at high elevations receive a lot of sunlight – so much so that their potential for producing power from the sun is even higher than in some desert areas, ” according to a statement from the ACS.

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