Turkmenistan to establish solar energy institute

By Aynur Jafarova

Turkmenistan will set up a solar energy institute. The establishment was envisaged in a decree by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov calling on building a solar energy institute under the Academy of Sciences.

The establishment of the new institute will pave the way for deep investigations into the potential of renewable energy sources in the country, improving scientific and technological researches and introducing relevant scientific studies and innovations.

Based on the decree, the Turkmen Academy of Sciences has been assigned with developing and adopting a charter for the solar energy institute.

The Academy of Sciences jointly with the Justice Ministry is supposed to prepare and submit some proposals on the amendment to the Turkmen legislation to the Cabinet of Ministers within a month.

In 2012, the Turkmen Academy of Sciences received the first sample of technical silicon from quartz sand using solar energy. Also, the country's scientists have developed an autonomous solar-wind complex capable of providing remote pastures in the desert conditions with water and energy within a year.

There is a solar desalination plant, as well as a facility providing supplies of hot water, and a solar greenhouse with heat-keeping ground among other developments.

The international experts believe Turkmenistan is capable of producing solar batteries for export.

This process could begin with the production of raw materials (monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon) in the country. The energy required for the production of silicon is quite cheap due to the vast oil and gas resources, even in the medium-sized fields.

Turkmenistan's climatic conditions allow using solar and wind energy all year round.

The length of sunny days reaches 16 hours in July. The energy of the sun rays falling on one square meter is 800 watts. There are approximately 300 sunny days in a year, and the duration of sunny days reaches 2,500- 3,000 hours a year.

The experts believe Turkmenistan will make significant savings by using solar energy. In this regard it is necessary to expand production technologies for creation of solar modules.

Earlier Turkmen media reported that the country plans to establish a large-scale wind and solar energy complexes, the composition of which will include solar photovoltaic power plants, solar photobioreactors, dryers, desalination plants, wind-solar installation for waste disposal, solar collectors.

These kinds of complexes can secure livelihoods of entire villages and livestock farms.

Right now, a project of studying production possibilities of silicon for solar photovoltaic cells is underway in Turkmenistan that will put the country on a par with the states that have obtained commercial production of technical silicon.