The European Union is proposing an ambitious venture to install solar panels in the arid stretches of the Sahara, the world's largest desert.
These solar panels will be of the concentrated solar thermal type. consisting of a parabolic mirror which will focus the light and heat to a central tower. An engine in the tower( Stirling engine) will convert the heat to mechanical energy which will power a generator. This method is superior to the photovoltaic type of solar power generation in that it enables the heat energy to be stored and enables power generation during night time as well using the accumulated heat.
The power generated will be transported to Europe through a network of highly efficient underwater cables laid across the mediterranean. In the next five years, a small test project is to be completed. It is estimated that by 2050 almost all the power required for Europe will be generated from this solar network.
According to estimates, if only 1% of the Sahara were covered in Solar Panels, there would be enough power to power the entire world. Food for thought, indeed!