The executive operation of constructing the largest Iranian factory to manufacture solar cells has started in Mahan County, Kerman Province, the representative of Kerman and Ravar in the parliament said.
“The first phase of the project will cost more than $500 million and the investment will increase by up to $850 million for the next phase,” Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
“The complex will have an annual production capacity of about 3,000 megawatts of solar cells, which will be the largest of its kind in the Middle East,” he added.
The official noted that about 3,000 people will be directly and indirectly employed in this project.
According to the lawmaker, knowledge-based companies, universities and Mahan Science and Technology Park will collaborate in the project.
A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect, which is a physical and chemical phenomenon.
Individual solar cell devices are often the electrical building blocks of photovoltaic modules, known colloquially as solar panels. The common single junction silicon solar cell can produce a maximum open-circuit voltage of approximately 0.5 volts to 0.6 volts.
Iran’s first photovoltaic cell and panel manufacturing company in Khomein County, Markazi Province, became operational with the help of the private sector last year.
The plant’s first phase was launched with a capacity of 250 megawatts of solar power per year.
The company is also setting up a multi-crystalline wafer unit that will enable the plant to produce 1,200 MW multi- and mono-crystalline wafers annually.
The development of the second phase of the plan will increase the factory’s capacity to 1,500 MW of solar panels per year.
Investment in the renewables sector in Iran so far has surpassed $1 billion. Creating jobs in remote rural areas, curbing immigration, saving water, reducing power wastage as well as cutting carbon emissions are among the most significant advantages of green energy.
An estimated 1,500 small and 50 industrial renewable power plants have been built across the country over the past four years.
Renewables account for about 1,000 megawatts of total installed power capacity that is currently 85 gigawatts.
Over 3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity have been produced from renewables since March 2009.
Iran has huge potentials for the production of renewable energies, including geothermal, solar and wind power, environmentalists and experts say.
Higher Demand, Lower Price
International Energy Agency believes that renewables will play starring roles, and solar power will take center-stage, driven by supportive government policies and declining costs.
Energy demand is expected to increase considerably in the coming years, particularly in developing countries as a result of population growth, economic development and rapid urbanization.
This has necessitated a shift away from traditional fossil fuels to alternative renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
Renewable energy is the most cost-effective option compared to all other traditional sources of power generation.
The cost of producing every kilowatt hour of electricity from fossil fuel is 30 cents, whereas generating the same from green sources costs three times less and is bound to decline further in the near future, given technological breakthroughs and increasing investments.
The cost of renewable energy is now falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels within just a few years, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The organization, which has more than 150 member countries, says the cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around 23% since 2010 while the cost of solar photovoltaic electricity has fallen by 73% during this period.
With further price falls expected for these and other green energy options, IRENA says all renewable energy technologies should be cost-competitive compared with fossil fuels by 2020.