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Cold Mountain Tops: The Best Locations for Harvesting Solar Power


If you were to install a solar power plant, where would you? I bet your answer stands in between California and Sahara, and you couldn’t be more right to think so. Who’d ever think of installing a photovoltaic plant on the top of Himalaya, for example?

Well, a new study performed by researchers from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology reveals that places like the Himalaya mountains or the southern Andes are more than appropriate for building your power producing plants on.

The advice would be wise to follow not because there’s more sun there than in California, but because high temperatures reduce the life time and performance of solar cells, and those cold mountain tops are cold enough to keep the devices cool and running most efficiently. They say that only 12,000 square kilometers (4 percent of Himalay’s high potential region) are enough to provide all the “juice” needed to power China.

However, building at those altitudes and sending the power “back to earth” seems nearly impossible or with huge expenses. What this study can help with, though, is giving an idea on how rural areas living in the study’s targeted regions could implement such installations for their own use.

[via cleantechnica]

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  1. Kel it’s just you. In most places, until the sun is blocked, solar continues to become more and more cost effective relative to geo. There is not all that much sun to block in Iceland is there? Anyway, when the sun is blocked, out you will have the last laugh.

  2. Am I the only one who factors in such possible sun-restricting events as super-volcano eruptions and meteor impacts when considering energy and other policy?

    After long hard study and thought it seems to me that the main technology we should be investing in is geothermal.

    Iceland has mastered this technology, teaches it, and it is well suited to being robotized.

    One cannot but respect this scientist and this solar technology development.
    “Today” there are plenty of sunny areas lacking electricity.

    Yet think of the respect he would have received had he chosen to make this technology freely available open source rather than sell it to an outfit like Tata, despite his claim of dreams for African villages.

    The cost of implementing this technology versus geothermal should be considered and ideally both utilized.

    If I had to choose one over the other, geothermal would always win because power would be available at the times it is most needed such as in a volcano or wind or meteor event.

    Is anyone else thinking along these lines or is it just me? *

    from wikipedia
    The Year Without a Summer (also known as the Poverty Year, Year There Was No Summer, and Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death[1]) was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F),[2] resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.[3][4] It is believed that the anomaly was caused by a combination of a historic low in solar activity with a volcanic winter event, the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,300 years.
    *Geothermal is everywhere on Earth it is just a matter of going deep enough.
    I hope we don’t have any “natural disaster” ever but most scientists agree we will at some point so wouldn’t it be wise to be prepared ?
    Civilization is a fragile thing and if resources are gone suddenly imagine how terrible for Humanity.


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