Latin America could shine as a world power in solar generation, the region has high potential in this area, which could be catapulted before the collapse of the prices of solar technology, making its use accessible to more people in line with the Development Goal Sustainable 7 Affordable and Clean Energy.
The greatest potential for photovoltaic energy is observed in the Andes region in South America. In absolute values, the potential of photovoltaic energy is between 15% and 20% higher compared to other similar climatic regions of the world, such as the Arabian Peninsula or North Africa. Clean Energy XXI highlights that a new World Bank report published in June reveals that in the Andes there is a unique combination of factors that cannot be found elsewhere: persistent clear sky conditions, clean air, low air temperature and high altitude, which makes the atmosphere thinner compared to lower altitude areas. Therefore, the highest values of solar resources and photovoltaic energy potential are found in northwestern Argentina, Bolivia, northern Chile, and southern Peru.
According to the report, another country that stands out is Mexico, which would only need to dedicate 0.1% of its territory to utility-scale photovoltaic power plants to cover all its annual electricity consumption (around 270 TWh) recently. However, this percentage varies enormously by country. In France, due to higher electricity consumption and lower photovoltaic performance, it would be approximately 1.0% of the country zone. In contrast, Ethiopia would need only 0.003% of its land area to be covered in solar photovoltaic energy to meet its annual energy needs in recent years.
Until now, there has not been a global and harmonized assessment of photovoltaic potential at the country level. The World Bank report called “Solar PV Potential by Country” – attempts to fill this gap by evaluating the potential theory (the general solar resource), the practical potential (taking into account the additional factors that affect photovoltaic energy conversion efficiency and basic land use limitations), and the economic potential of photovoltaic power generation, considering a simplified assessment of electricity production costs.
The report is based on data provided by the World Bank through the Global Solar Atlas, a free web-based tool, providing the latest data on the potential of solar resources globally. The solar potential of countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa regions is particularly reviewed, notably Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Iran, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and many nations of the Pacific islands and the Atlantic.
Source: Banco Mundial y Energía Limpia para Todos
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