‘Solar power plants an alternative for income generation around Lake Urmia basin’

July 28, 2018

TEHRAN — Setting up solar power plants to produce electricity can be an alternative income generation for farmers in Lake Urmia basin in northwestern Iran, Ja’far Mohseni, head of East Azarbaijan academic center for education, culture and research, known as Jahad Daneshgahi, has said.

Lake Urmia, a body of water shared between East and West Azarbaijan in northwestern Iran, was once gloriously shining like a turquoise, but within 20 years the lake started to dry out gradually as a result of countless dam construction, unfitting agricultural practices, water-inefficient irrigation systems, shortsighted decision making, and not allocating water right of the wetland.

In 1999 the volume of water was at 30 billion cubic meters, but now as per a report by ISNA news agency published on Friday Masoud Tajrishi, deputy environment chief said that the lake is stretching over some 2,100 square kilometers and the volume of water is measured at some 1.640 billion cubic meters. 

In order to maintain the lake ecological balance the lake surface area should increase to twice its current size to almost 4,300 square kilometers and the volume of water should be at 14.5 billion cubic meters.

“Regarding the fact that Iran is located in an arid area geographically Jahad Daneshgahi has decided to focus on establishing solar power plants and wind farms for producing energy…,” ISNA quoted Mohseni as saying on Friday. 

The villagers are faced with water stress and should be encouraged to find alternative sources of income generation, Mohseni said, adding that Jahad Daneshgahi is planning on training the villagers to install solar power plants in the Lake basin so that they can earn a living.

Deputy environment chief Tajrishi also commented on the subject saying that Jahad Daneshgahi’s scheme to set up solar plants must be first piloted. 

“Based on the researches conducted by Jahad Daneshgahi cultivating medicinal plants [which are less water-intensive] in the area is also an effective measure,” Tajrishi highlighted. 

Tajrishi also called on Jahad Daneshgahi to carry out research on salt mining in Lake Urmia.

Also in October 2017, when attending a meeting with representatives of mining companies, Tajrishi touched on the great potential of salt mining in Lake Urmia and called for taking more serious action in this regard. In November 2015 Tajrishi also explained that salt reserves in Lake Urmia’s bed is so vast that every human on earth can have more than a 1-tone share from it. 

Najaf Qarachoorlou another official with Jahad Daneshgahi also explained that installing 100KW solar power plants in farming lands and selling the electricity can provide villagers with income and create jobs in the region. 

Some 65 percent of the equipment for solar power plants are being imported to the country but Jahad Daneshgahi is attempting to manufacture the equipment domestically.

MQ/MG

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