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The Sahara desert—a vast powerhouse for Europe

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Tunisia wants to make the most of the sun-drenched Sahara desert to produce electricity to power Europe. Indeed, with around 4,000 hours of sunshine, the Sahara desert could be viewed as the perfect foil for solar energy production. And now the TuNur project, a joint venture combining the efforts of UK-based ‘Nur Energy’ and Tunisian and Maltese investors plans to convert that natural sunshine wealth into usable power; 9,000GWh to be exact and send it by cable to Europe. The TuNur group aim to produce more than twice the electricity currently being produced by any U.K nuclear plant and use it to power 2.5 million European homes with low carbon electricity.[1] However, this extraordinary solar power production plant will not be relying on traditional photovoltaic panels. Instead, the sun’s power will be harnessed thanks to precisely focused mirrors and then redirected to a central tower. The focused rays of the sun produce sufficient heat to water and molten salt to 930 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember your childhood play with magnifying glasses to burn holes in paper – well it’s basically the same principle at work here. In this case, the energy produced powers a turbine to generate clean low- carbon electricity. It is envisioned that the electricity will be sent to Italy via a DC undersea cable and then connected to the European grid. The use of DC cabling reduces energy loss. The TuNur group has already poured more than $12 million dollars into this project and they anticipate that construction will begin in 2016 with electricity reaching European homes by 2018. This project opens our eyes to the enormous potential of solar power generation, particularly in desert areas with abundant sunshine. According to the European Commission’s Institute for Energy, the entire energy needs of Europe could be supplied by just 0.3% of the sun’s power striking the Sahara and Middle Eastern deserts.[2] This project is not unique. Here in the US similar projects are rapidly pushing solar energy production to new highs. For example, the Sierra Suntower built in 2009 uses 24,000 mirrors to produce 5MW of electricity—enough to power 4,000 Californian homes.[3] Solar power really is the way of the future; a clean, green future. According to the Esolar.com website, the 5 MW output of Sierra SunTower will reduce CO2 emissions by 7,000 tons per year. To put this into perspective, Sierra SunTower’s annual environmental impact is equivalent to:

  • Planting 5,265 acres of trees
  • Removing 1,368 automobiles from the road
  • Saving 650,000 gallons of gasoline[4]

Solar energy offers really exciting possibilities for meeting America’s growing energy production needs with clean, green, low carbon electricity. You too can enjoy clean electricity with your home solar panel powerhouse. Now is the time to join this revolution. Make the most of the substantial Tax rebates and call us for a free, no obligation consultation with our solar consultants, call us at 1(855) 60-1SOLAR (601-7652).   [1] http://www.nurenergie.com/tunur/index.php/news/101/66/Low-Carbon-and-Nur-Energie-support-energy-security-with-large-scale-solar-project-in-Tunisia [2] http://www.nurenergie.com/tunur/index.php/news/101/66/Low-Carbon-and-Nur-Energie-support-energy-security-with-large-scale-solar-project-in-Tunisia [3] http://www.esolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/sierra_fact_sheet.pdf [4] http://www.esolar.com/projects/sierra-sun-tower/