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Development of solar energy in Iran.


Solar energy is the hugest energy resource in the world. This pure energy is cheap and eternal and is achievable in many regions of the earth. Limitation of fossil fuel sources and the consequences of using them in environmental and global climatological changes have created special opportunity for competition of solar energy with fossil energies especially in the countries with high potential of solar radiation.

Energy resource of Sun is one of the major resources in solar system. According to the latest official estimation, this firing globe has an age of more than 14 billion years. In each second 4.2 million tons of solar mass are converted to energy. Given the weight of sun which is about 333 thousand times of earth's weight, sun should be considered as a huge resource of energy up to the next 5 billion years. In central part of sun temperature reaches to about 10 to 14 million[degrees]C and the energy radiates out of the surface of sun with a temperature of 5600[degrees]C in the form of electromagnetic waves. Earth is located in 150 million km distance from sun. It takes 8 minutes and 18 seconds the sunlight to reach to earth. Therefore, earth's share of total solar radiation is very low. The origin of all known energies on the earth including fossil fuels reserved in the earth, wind, waterfalls, oceanic waves etc. is Sun [1, 2].

Solar energy, like other types of energy, could be converted, directly or indirectly, to other forms of energy such as heat or electricity. However, some barriers such as our scientific and technical weakness in converting such energy to other forms as the result of shortage in knowledge and field experience, instability of solar radiation as the result of atmospheric changes, seasons and radiation direction, and extensive area of radiation, impede us to use such divine gift properly [4].

2-Applications of Solar Energy:

Currently solar energy is used by different systems as follows [1, 2]:

2-1 Using Solar Energy as Thermal Source for Using in Power Plants:

A solar power plant includes some installations and equipment that gather solar radiations and concentrate them in a point for creating high temperature. The gathered energy will be converted to electricity via thermal converters, generators or steam engines. Solar power plants are divided into two categories on the basis of their concentrating equipment:

2-1-1 Parabolic Solar Thermal Power Plants:

Solar thermal power plants are of the type of linear parabolic collector system including parallel and longitudinal rows of concentrating devices. The concentrating part is a parabolic reflexing surface made of glass mirrors which are put on a support. Energy receivers are cylindrical absorptive pipes (collectors) with selective covers which are covered by Pyrex glass and will be put along focal line. The receiving part is located on two bases; and the total set is on the main bars of the structure. The tracking system of these sets is uniaxial and sun shall be tracked east-westerly on one circular uniaxial part so that during the period of tracking solar radiations will be concentrated on collectors. A heat transferring fluid, distinctly an oil, flows through collectors with a temperature more than 400[degrees]C, and the hot oil in thermal converters evaporates water and convert it to steam; and then the extra hot steam will cause generation of electricity by turbine and generators via Rankin cycle.

2-1-2 Dish Sterling Power Plant:

Sterling engines are heat-working engines that convert heat to movement and they have more efficiency in comparison with diesel and petrol engines. Today such engines are used for special purposes. Sterling engines use Sterling cycle which is different from withe cycles usable in internal combustion engines. Sterling cycle uses an external thermal source such as petrol, solar energy or biomass gases and no combustion may be occurred within the cylinders of engine. For providing the energy necessary for this engine a reflexing dish will be used. This dish will reflex solar thermal energy on the engine directly; and the engine starts generation of electricity.

2-2 Using Solar Thermal Energy for Being Used in Homes and Industrial Units:

Further to using in power plants, we may use solar thermal energy in the following fields such as industrial, commercial, and home uses:

2-2-1 Heating Water (Solar Water Heaters in Houses, Buildings, Factories and Pools):

Solar water heaters, as known by their name, work by absorption of solar energy through absorptive surfaces (collectors) and their thermal efficiency may differ in different seasons and based on their geographical situations. The hot water reservoir is designed in such a way that to provide hot water round-the-clock; and its thermal waste to be very minute up to the next morning and sunrise. With this system we could decrease costs of consumption of gas, gasoil and electricity. This low level of use will be visible and sensible in huge projects; so that after 4 to 5 years we will be able to depreciate the initial investment with thrift in using fossil fuels. Maintenance costs of these systems are very low. The longevity of standard and high-quality systems may reach to 15 years.

2-2-2 Heating the Internal Spaces of Buildings:

Heating of buildings by solar energy is the first and the main application of solar energy in construction sector. Solar heating systems shall be divided into two main categories on the bases of the type of fluids, air or liquid, which are heated by solar collectors. Both systems absorb and collect solar radiation and then transfer the resulted heat to internal spaces of buildings directly. Using these systems working with the cheap and eternal sources of sun is a benefit of solar energy systems; furthermore, despite fossil fuels these systems do not threaten environment.

2-3 Direct Conversion of Solar Radiations to Electricity via Some Devices Called "Photovoltaic":

Photovoltaic is regarded to the phenomenon in which solar radiation is converted to electricity without using stimulating mechanisms; and photovoltaic system is regarded to any system using such phenomenon. Photovoltaic system is most usable systems of applications of modern energies. So far, various systems with different capacities (0.5 watt up to several megawatts) have been installed and run throughout the world; and given their reliability and performance application for them increases every day. We may achieve acceptable electrical current and voltage by paralleling and serializing solar cells. A set of serialized and paralleled cells is said Photovoltaic Panel. Today such cells are generally produced with Silicone; and it is extracted from sand and gravel which are plentiful in Iran's deserts. Therefore, there is restriction and shortage for providing the raw materials for such cells. We may divide photovoltaic systems to two main parts, and explain them in brief as follows:

2-3-1 Solar Panels:

This part is in fact a converter of solar radiation to electricity without a mechanical intermediate device. This part controls all system specifications and controls and injects the entering power of panels into bar or battery according to the designed plan or requirements of consumer. It should be noted that at this part, specifications and elements will be changed in accordance with the needed to electrical charges and requirements of user as well as local climatological aspects.

2-3-2 User or Electrical Charges:

Given the DC output of photovoltaic panels, consumer may be of either DC or AC types. Also with different arrangement of photovoltaic panels we may provide the requirement of consumer to different powers. In the light of ever-decreasing of fossil fuels reserves and the dangers of atomic power plants, it is strongly believed that solar cells will be used for generation of electricity as a substitute of fossil fuels and atomic power plants.

3-State of Solar Energy in Iran:

3-1- Electricity Produce Project in Damghan:

Date of start: 1994

Date of end: 1995

Place of implementation: Semnan Province

Description of Project:

The goal of this project is providing a part of requirements of the country to electricity via PV systems and injection of the electricity generated by these systems into countrywide electrical grid.

This power plant is located at the distance of 120 Km of southern Damghan near two villages of Hassinan and Moalleman. Its capacity is 97 kW; and it is set up for compensation of voltage shortage and injection of electricity to the low-voltage rural grid [5].


Technical Specifications:

This power plant includes: 2 buildings (each covering an approximate area of 90[m.sup.2], one is used as the administrative building and the other one as the generation hall); a water reservoir, agricultural irrigation well, 450 53-watt Japanese panels, 1550 45-watt Iranian panels, 220 two-volt (490 ampere/hour) batteries, 6 Iranian inverters, 6 foreign-made inverters, made by SMA Germany. This power plant is connected to a transformer and 20-kV aerial transmission line via main generating panel and an underground transmission line. Injection of the generated electricity to the low-voltage rural grid for compensation of shortage of voltage and power of grid is the result of this project [5].

3-2 Equipping a Border Zone with the Aid of Photovoltaic Systems:

Location: Gazik Outpost

Description of Project:

The border area of Gazik has no countrywide electrical grid and locates at a distance of more than 50 km of it. For this reason, an independent photovoltaic power plant has been used for providing electricity for this outpost. The followings are the benefits of using such power plant: no need for fuel supply to this outpost, no need for using countrywide electricity grid at this point, providing reliable and sustainable electricity for this outpost. Meanwhile, there is no need for a resident maintainer for repairs and maintenance of such simple system [5].

3-3 Design, Construction, Installation and Operation of Tunnel No. 6 of Karaj Dam:

Date of start: 1997

Date of end: 2001

Location of Project: Tunnel No. 6 of Karaj Dam

Description of Project:

This project works independent from countrywide electricity grid; and has been implemented for providing illumination required for tunnel No. 6 of Karaj-Chalus road during days and nights. The following actions have been carried out [5]:

Carrying out basic and detailed design of identification and preparation of site; leveling the envisioned parcel of land; construction of foundation; construction and installation of structure; purchase and installation of photovoltaic panels; installation and running operations



3-4 Design and Made of a Solar Bath Unit:

Date of start: 1999

Date of end: 2002

Place of Implementation: Ardakan Village

Description of Project:

Equipping a bath unit of pump type including 120 collectors, two coil-bearing tanks of 3000 liters each, two circulating pumps, two expanding reservoirs of 150 liters each, 340 liters of antifreeze, on a plot of land spreading over an area of 650[m.sup.2].

Thrift in using fossil fuel and normalizing use of solar baths are among the results of this project [5].

3-5- Design, Installation and Running a Photovoltaic Power Plant with a Nominal Capacity of 30 kW connected to Countrywide Electricity Grid in Taleghan Region:

Date of start: 2000

Date of end: 2002

Place of implementation: Taleghan Region

Description of Project:

30-kW photovoltaic system connected to countrywide electricity grid in Taleghan is located on the slope of southern Alborz region. The longitude of power plant is 50[degrees] 34' and its latitude is 36[degrees] 11'. Capacity of the installed equipment stands at 40 kW increasable to 100 kW. This power plant was operated in 2003 and its useful life is estimated at 25 years. The average of hours of annual sunlight stands at 2700. The goal of this project is generating electricity and injection of it into countrywide electricity grid and meeting some power requirements of the country [5].



3-6 Designing, manufacturing, installation and implementation of 350 solar warmers Devices to of 1400 [m.sup.2]:

Date of start: 2000

Date of end: 2002

Place of implementation: Bushehr, Tabas, Yazd, Bojnourd, Zahedan and Isfahan.

Description of project:

Home solar water warmers are consisted of one or Two collectors to gain solar energy and a water reservoir. Cold water enter into a double layered tank where the water or any liquid which is warmed in collector follow in the second layer, heat exchange occurs in this tank an water gets warm, the water warmers which installed are thermo siphon type and the existing water in collector drive to tank by thermo siphon function and there is no need to pump. Thrift in fossil fuels and promotion culture in term of using solar water warmers is the result of this project [5].

3-7 Construction of Shiraz "Shared" Linear Solar Power Station:

Date of start: 2000

Date of end: 2002

Place of implementation: Shiraz

Project description:

Shiraz solar power plant consist of 48 shared collector in 8*6 rows installed in direction of north - south. Length of awry collector is 25m and its opening is 3.4 m. there 6 cylindrical absorber pipes covered with black chrome or cermets on each collector and pipes are covered with piety glass. These pipes are on focal line of collector. Assembly total assembly is installed on holding and monitoring systems, all day long. Heating energy of sun beams is absorbed by receiver tubes and transfers to heating conveyer liquidly which is ail the liquid heats up to 256[degrees]C and then hot oil enters heat exchangers. After passing exchanger, this hot liquid change water to superheat vapor and obtainable vapor feeds to steam engine and electricity is generated by generator [5].




Results of this project are summarized as follows [5]: -study and research in order to develop new and clean energies application such as solar energy to produce vapor and electricity at scales of semi-industrial

-Participation of university and industry regarding execution of a national project by utilizing national powers, capabilities and facilities

-Conducting applied and scientific researches base on student of bachelor and master degrees

-Producing new technologies in different components of linear shared collectors in term of hardware and process and optimization modeling systems through soft wares

3-8 Using Voltaic Solar Energy in Energy Division Building:

Date of start: 2000

Date of end: 2004

Place of implementation: Tehran.

Description of project:

Iran new energies organizations of energy and electricity (photovoltaic group) purposed to provide lighting of all sanitary services, ramps and buffets of all store's in building of deputy office of energy affairs in ministry of power through solar energy, and photo voltaic system, power of system is 4.3 k watt and is consisted of 2 lines called 1,2 [5]. Project Results [5]:

-Exploiting from photovoltaic throughout electricity net work and advantages to assist net work and preventing voltage degrading and its empowerment

-Using accessing knowledge technology in hybrid approach in field of photovoltaic system.

3-9 Maintaining Electricity for Rural Appliances:

Date of start: 2005

Date of end: 2008

Place of implementation: Zanjan, Gilan, Bushehr, Yazd, Ghazvin, and Kurdestan provinces.

Description of project [3, 5]:

Plan of maintaining rural electricity at capacity of 76 k watts started in 1385 and aimed to evaluate system in areas of special circumstances (Hard to access roads and unsuitable climates), than extended to Zanjan, Gilan, Bushehr and Yazd provinces. In this project, 58 photovoltaic systems in total cont were conducted as pilot pan in order to maintain electricity for rural areas of lack of electricity. In table 1, name and characteristics of villages are stated.

Reasons for implementing project in these villages are:

A: Approximation to center and facility of project operational modifications

B: Diversified climax and environmental conditions. C: High score of cloudy and rainy days in some areas that reduce sun light.

D: Location of village at windy, areas in order to facilitate assessments about windy condition of villages and its effect on photovoltaic systems functions and performances.

Diversity in power at the range of 700 watt to I.S k watt so as to test different conditions in pilot systems, lead to valuable experiences for organization, such as optimized application of these system whereas it is resulted these systems have capability of usage throughout Iran, however the management culture on maintenance and consumption should be existed.

3-10. Researches in domain of develop and test of related moulds of collector mirrors in Shiraz power plant, Glass bending, and cm test as a research project:

Date of start: 2004

Date of end: 2005

Place of implementation: Isfahan

Description of project:

Solar power plants of shared types are in category of systems which developed to have capacities of power plants, but designing and manufacturing of different parts of these power station collectors are unique and limited to some developed industrial countries in the world. By considering implementing Shiraz linear shared solar power plant and tendency and capability to achieve manufacturing technology of components of this kind of plant in country, this project executed in the field of vertex glass bending and their test order to manufacture convert mirrors which are crucial components in concentrating solar beams in solar power plants [5]. Obtained Results [5]:

-Design and manufacture mould of glass bending process.

-Determining proper conditions for solar energy fixtures.

3-11 Study and produce holmic conducts for silicon solar cells and fine layer--Research project:

Starting year: 2005

End year: 2007

Site: Tehran

Project introduction:

Considering the growth of 30 to 40 percent in photovoltaic systems, there are not extended researches in all research centers of world in order to complete innovative comprehensive process and less costly ones, assessing electrical properties of metal conducting activities in order to optimize metal fixtures to solar cells is of accomplished issues in this research [5].

Report of evaluating electrical properties of metal fixtures, technological optimization and preparation for private sector usage in order to quality up gradation of solar cells are results of this research.

4-Final Discussion:

As it concluded from provided matters in here, there are multiple attempts to exploit solar energy more than before in Iran. And policies related to improve and completing solar power plants are followed. Also these continue in a more developed and emphasized manner.

Considering above mentioned issues, in near future we countess and observe that a major fraction of Iran's required electrical energy would be maintained through solar power stations and plants.


[1.] Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy, "Annual Energy Outlook 2003 with Projections to 2025", 2003., 9.10.2003.

[2.] Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy, "Annual Energy Outlook 2003 with Projections to 2025", 2003. wnload.html, 0554(2003).pdf 9.10.2003

[3.] Ghobadian, B., Najafi, Gh., Rahimi, H. and Yusaf, T.F. (2008) Future of renewable energies in Iran, Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, xxx, pp. xxx-xxx.

[4.] H Vakil, GE Global Research Center, Schenectady, NY. Subject: Capital Costs and Efficiencies of Gas Turbines. Personal communication to W. Edelstein.

[5.] (Wind office-Renewable Energies Office-Ministry of Energy-Islamic Republic of Iran).

(1) Mahmood Baghban Taraghdari, (2) Esmaeil Fotuhie, (3) Hassan Aryamanesh, (4) Hojjat Ahmadi,

(2) Mohammad Reza Asadi Asad Abad

(1) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Buinzahra branch, Islamic Azad University, Buinzahra, Iran.

(2) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Buinzahra branch, Islamic Azad University, Buinzahra, Iran

(3) Technical and Vocational University, Technical College of Qazvin, Qazvin, Iran

(4) Department of Agricultural Machinery Engineering, Faculty of Biosystems Engineering, Univerity of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

Corresponding Author

Mohammad Reza Asadi Asad Abad, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Buinzahra branch, Islamic Azad University, Buinzahra, Iran Email:
Table 1: Name and characteristics of villages with photovoltaic systems

Row The name of village Province Number of Year of
 installed instalation

1 Emamzade Eshagh Ghazvin 2 2006
2 Chouidar Ghazvin 6 2006
3 Ghazan Daghi Ghazvin 12 2006
4 Sichanlou Ghazvin 5 2006
5 Lahjin Zanjan 5 2006
6 Seied Abad Gilan 2 2006
7 Anarestan Bushehr 6 2007
8 Bagh Kaj Bushehr 17 2007
9 Masjed Ardekan Iazd 1 2007
10 Emamzade Hamze Arab Kurdestan 1 2007
11 Kokjin Dare Ghazvin 1 2007
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Original Article
Author:Taraghdari, Mahmood Baghban; Fotuhie, Esmaeil; Aryamanesh, Hassan; Ahmadi, Hojjat; Abad, Mohammad Re
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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