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Large-scale photovoltaic solar farms in the Sahara affect solar power generation potential globally

Long, Jingchao ; Lu, Zhengyao LU ; Miller, Paul A. LU ; Pongratz, Julia ; Guan, Dabo ; Smith, Benjamin LU ; Zhu, Zhiwei ; Xu, Jianjun and Zhang, Qiong (2024) In Communications Earth and Environment 5(1).
Abstract

Globally, solar projects are being rapidly built or planned, particularly in high solar potential regions with high energy demand. However, their energy generation potential is highly related to the weather condition. Here we use state-of-the-art Earth system model simulations to investigate how large photovoltaic solar farms in the Sahara Desert could impact the global cloud cover and solar generation potential through disturbed atmospheric teleconnections. The results indicate negative impacts on solar potential in North Africa (locally), Middle East, Southern Europe, India, Eastern China, Japan, Eastern Australia, and Southwestern US, and positive impacts in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Central & Eastern US,... (More)

Globally, solar projects are being rapidly built or planned, particularly in high solar potential regions with high energy demand. However, their energy generation potential is highly related to the weather condition. Here we use state-of-the-art Earth system model simulations to investigate how large photovoltaic solar farms in the Sahara Desert could impact the global cloud cover and solar generation potential through disturbed atmospheric teleconnections. The results indicate negative impacts on solar potential in North Africa (locally), Middle East, Southern Europe, India, Eastern China, Japan, Eastern Australia, and Southwestern US, and positive impacts in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Central & Eastern US, Scandinavia and South Africa, reaching a magnitude of ±5% in remote regions seasonally. Diagnostics suggest that large-scale atmospheric circulation changes are responsible for the global impacts. International cooperation is essential to mitigate the potential risks of future large-scale solar projects in drylands, which could impact energy production.

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author
; ; ; ; ; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Communications Earth and Environment
volume
5
issue
1
article number
11
publisher
Springer Nature
external identifiers
  • scopus:85181736060
ISSN
2662-4435
DOI
10.1038/s43247-023-01117-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8293447a-1a3a-4e21-922d-5d61b8a7db35
date added to LUP
2024-02-12 12:44:37
date last changed
2024-02-12 12:46:01
@article{8293447a-1a3a-4e21-922d-5d61b8a7db35,
  abstract     = {{<p>Globally, solar projects are being rapidly built or planned, particularly in high solar potential regions with high energy demand. However, their energy generation potential is highly related to the weather condition. Here we use state-of-the-art Earth system model simulations to investigate how large photovoltaic solar farms in the Sahara Desert could impact the global cloud cover and solar generation potential through disturbed atmospheric teleconnections. The results indicate negative impacts on solar potential in North Africa (locally), Middle East, Southern Europe, India, Eastern China, Japan, Eastern Australia, and Southwestern US, and positive impacts in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Central &amp; Eastern US, Scandinavia and South Africa, reaching a magnitude of ±5% in remote regions seasonally. Diagnostics suggest that large-scale atmospheric circulation changes are responsible for the global impacts. International cooperation is essential to mitigate the potential risks of future large-scale solar projects in drylands, which could impact energy production.</p>}},
  author       = {{Long, Jingchao and Lu, Zhengyao and Miller, Paul A. and Pongratz, Julia and Guan, Dabo and Smith, Benjamin and Zhu, Zhiwei and Xu, Jianjun and Zhang, Qiong}},
  issn         = {{2662-4435}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  publisher    = {{Springer Nature}},
  series       = {{Communications Earth and Environment}},
  title        = {{Large-scale photovoltaic solar farms in the Sahara affect solar power generation potential globally}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43247-023-01117-5}},
  doi          = {{10.1038/s43247-023-01117-5}},
  volume       = {{5}},
  year         = {{2024}},
}