Solar power in Libya, With the continued increase in the cost of non-renewable fuels and their adverse effect on the environment and health, alternative renewable energy sources have been a subject of great interest over the years, especially solar power.
Solar power is the utilization of solar radiation to produce power either via photovoltaic panels (PV panels) or through the concentration of solar radiation. Solar power via PV panels has always been at a disadvantage when compared to other sources of renewable energy due to their high costs and low efficiency; however, with the continued advancements in technology continuously pushing down the prices and increasing their efficiency, they are now a very competitive source of energy. Many countries have moved forward in using PV panels and aim to produce a significant amount of their electricity through PV panels. Many other countries, especially in the middle east and north Africa are showing great interest in investing in solar power to utilize their vast solar resources, and perhaps one of the countries that have not used their solar resources the most is Libya.
As a country located in the Sahara desert near the mediterranean sea, Libya has an abundance of solar power due to its high daily average solar radiation, which reaches 7.1 kWh/m2 in regions close to the coast and 8.1 kWh/m2 in the southern region, this coupled with average sun duration that exceeds 3500 hours per year.
Combining this with the availability of large space, solar power via solar panels seems like an excellent investment that should be considered seriously. Solar panels have become more desirable in Libya in recent years due to the low costs of the panels compared to before and due to the instability in the power grid faced by Libyan citizens, which led to recurring power cuts and possible damages to electronics.
Most solar panel projects in Libya are small in scale. They are usually limited to powering a small number of houses, powering utility services such as telephone towers, and small industrial projects. For Libya to make the most of its solar resources, there has to be a need to push for large-scale projects that will help not only in decreasing the over-reliance on fossil fuels that the country faces but also become a possible source of income by exporting the excess solar power to neighboring countries.
Another advantage of investing in large-scale solar projects is the possibility of providing power to cities and facilities in remote areas that may face difficulty in connecting to the national grid due to the overall cost or the technical challenges that may be encountered. It should be mentioned that solar panel projects have to face challenges in Libya, such as the extreme temperatures during the summer and possible sand storms damaging the panels, which will lead to drops in panel efficiency and increase in maintenance cost if not appropriately handled. However, the advantages would significantly outweigh the disadvantages, especially with proper planning and execution.
Finally, it should be mentioned that it is a common misunderstanding that the efficiency of the solar plant is only tied to the efficiency of solar panels, when in fact, the inverters, controllers, and trackers that are used play just as an important role and can significantly increase the solar power produced, which is why it is advised that proper consideration I gave to them as it is given to the panels themselves.
To conclude, Libya has a vast solar resource that isn’t properly utilized, and large and small-scale solar panel projects will benefit investors, customers, and the country in general.
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