Sahara-based solar power project could help power Europe within 5 years
Thursday 24 June 2010
European project Desertec could power Europe within five years as solar technology in walls and curtains comes closer to being commercially viable.
The European energy commissioner recently announced that Europe could draw clean energy from solar panels constructed in the Saharan desert within five years, half the initial 10-year estimate. The series of solar projects in Northern Africa known as Desertec are funded with the help of the EU and some European companies, in the hope that the EU will meet its target of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The latest statistics from Europe's Energy Portal show that in 2006 the EU as a whole produced 9.2 percent of its energy from renewable sources, however the production of renewable energy and the target EU members hope to meet by 2020 varies from country to country. For example Malta, which produced 0 percent of its energy through renewable resources in 2006, aims to meet a target of 10 percent by 2020, while the Czech Republic which produced 6.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2006 aims to increase this to 13 percent by 2020.
Solar technology could also soon become practical on a smaller scale, being used in households in order to reduce individual carbon footprints and increase domestic reliance on renewable energy. Konarka technologies have been developing thin film photovoltaic for nine years and are currently in partnership with Arch Aluminum and Glass in an effort to produce solar technology that could be used in home fittings such as curtains or walls thereby reducing household reliance on fossil fuels. The cells under development can store and reuse light from lightbulbs as well as the sun and are made of recycled materials.
Other companies, such as Solar Technologies FZE, are also hoping to develop solar panels for use in private accommodation. Technology in small-scale architecture has been in development for several years and Hawaii-based company Sopogy released commercially available solar technology for rooftop installations in 2009.
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