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Could Renewable Energy Infrastructure Turn The Sahara Desert Green?

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Solar in Sahara

The Sahara Desert, a subtropical desert in northern Africa, is the largest desert in the world. This area is scarcely populated due to the obvious reasons of extreme temperatures and poor vegetation. The desert has been proved ideal for renewable energy plantations and it has been said that we could power the whole of the world by harnessing solar energy from just 1.2% of the Sahara.

Now, according to a new study, scientists are of the view that renewable energy infrastructures like wind turbines and solar panels could increase rainfall in the Shara desert. According to their explanation, wind farms would mix warmer and cooler air, and solar panels would prevent sunlight from being reflected back into the atmosphere. Since the heat from the sun is trapped/ absorbed by the land surface it leads to more rising air and precipitation. These phenomena increase the possibility of rainfall.

solar in desert

Also, read How will Solar Be Used in 20 Years From Now?

With rainfall, vegetation and life could sprout back into these regions. Not only does this area receive ample amount of sun and wind, it is favorably located to meet the growing energy demands of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Given the large size of installations in the Sahara desert, the impact will be greater and more pronounced. The researchers looked at other desert locations in different parts of the world but found that the impact on rainfall and vegetation growth was much smaller.

The group concluded that given the rising perils of global warming, big installations in desert areas should be promoted. Not only will they improve the air quality, generate free power but will also improve the climate conditions to a certain extent. Regulators, policymakers, and energy investors should think in this direction. Did you know about Noor Solar Farm in Morocco, located on the edge of Sahara desert is touted as one of the largest solar farms around the world?


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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