In our last article, we mentioned how numerous kilowatt-hours of electricity can be generated per day by a square meter of solar panels. Can the Taklimakan Desert, covering an area of 330,000 square kilometers, be covered with solar panels to achieve electricity freedom? The Taklimakan Desert is the largest desert in China. It is relatively flat and abundant in silicon, which is needed to make solar panels. The average annual rainfall is less than 100 millimeters and the time of sunlight is abundant. From these points of view, the Taklimakan Desert is extremely suitable for photovoltaic power generation, but from the practical point of view, to maximize the use of solar panels in the Taklimakan Desert needs to consider a number of factors.
First of all, the Taklimakan Desert is an arid desert with extreme temperatures and minor rain all year round. In summer, the temperature can reach 40℃ or even 60℃, which considerably reduces the power generation efficiency of solar panels. In addition, the Taklimakan Desert is the second largest flowing desert in the world. Here's the solar flex cable.
Secondly, Tengger Solar Park is the most typical case of installing solar panels for power generation in the desert. According to the published data, Tengger Solar Park covers an area of 43 square kilometers, with a total investment of 530 million dollars, while Taklimakan Desert covers an area of 330,000 square kilometers, which is converted without considering additional factors. Covering the Taklimakan Desert with solar panels would cost $4 trillion. Electricity consumption for residents is typically about 0.6 yuan per kilowatt-hour, which would be an astronomical amount in terms of how often kilowatt-hour electricity is converted into $4 trillion, and the installation cost is huge.
Finally, there are perennial sandstorms in the Taklimakan Desert, which will affect the power generation of solar panels and even cause damage. The surface of solar panels needs to be cleaned regularly, and the desert is severely short of water resources, which will undoubtedly cost huge human and material resources. Even if the cleaning problem can be solved, the maintenance of solar panels at the later stage will be a huge cost. In addition, solar panels produce electricity only during the day, not at night, thus the electricity generated will be lost if not used in a timely way, and the energy storage facilities required to store it would be even more costly.
In general, covering the Taklimakan Desert with solar panels is not cost-effective.