Clean Power

Published on May 14th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Iran Going Big With Renewables! 5,000 MW Of New Solar & Wind Capacity By 2018?

May 14th, 2014 by  

Iran is aiming big with renewables, based on recent statements made by the Iranian Energy Minister, Hamid Chitchian.

As revealed by Chitchian, the country’s new goal is to add 5,000 MW of new solar energy and wind energy capacity by the year 2018. That’s a big increase over the country’s previous aims.

Iranian flags Iran

Sort of makes you wonder what it is that they know about the near-term future of the oil industry, doesn’t it? Though perhaps the move towards renewables is, at least partially, being pursued more for geopolitical reasons? It’s an interesting question.

The recent comments were made during a gathering with delegates and renewable energy experts at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Among the other information revealed was the fact that the majority of the new capacity will be from wind energy projects, but that 500 MW has already been designated for solar PV.

In a sign of just how committed Iran appears to be to the new goal, the country has apparently already begun construction on 400 MW of new projects — a further 900 MW worth of contracts have also already been signed.

According to the delegation from Iran, one of the main reasons for the push towards renewables is the fact that energy demand in the country is growing rapidly. As it stands currently, the Iranian grid totals about 70,000 MW of capacity, with demand growing rapidly — about 5,000 MW per year.

The rapid increase in demand is, to a large degree, down to the fact that electricity in the country is highly subsidized — if not for that fact, it’s highly questionable if growth in demand would be anywhere near where it is.

In order to meet its goals, the country is utilizing a generous feed-in-tariff program — $0.15 cents per kWh for electricity from renewable energy projects. The government also offers grants that cover up to 50% of the installation costs for residential solar PV systems.

Considering that it was only a few years ago that Iran opened its first solar power plant, the new goal is really quite impressive. And, if followed through on, it represents a pretty substantial step towards a renewable energy future.

Of course, that’s if the goal is met, something that is yet to be seen.

Image Credit: Iranian Flags via Flickr CC

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Alfredo Sanchez

    I never understood why Iran would want to pursue a nuclear program when they could easily get all their power from solar being situated where they are. Besides after the Japanese fiasco, and the war torn Arab world, placing a nuclear power plant is just utterly foolish, since an attack on one could carry radiation for miles. Oil and natural gas should be left for nations that live in cooler climates. Lets hope, fusion comes out soon, ultimately that will be best for everyone and we can get rid of fission once and for all.

  • Hussam Imtiaz

    National Council of Resistance of Iran, a broad coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups, and personalities, was founded in 1981 in Tehran, Iran on the initiative of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance. For more info visit

    • Mory A

      National Council of Resistance of Iran is a terrorist organization. I was the victim of this nasty organization while i was walking in the Street of Tehran and i survived a boom attack in 1986.

  • Matthew

    Even our enemies are smarter than the republicans?

  • JamesWimberley

    The targets are not very impressive by regional standards (Turkey, Saudi Arabia), but they do look real, not hot air. I comment on the politics on my blog (link).

  • Omega Centauri

    A point I wanted to make. Regardless of your view about the fairness of the external opposition to Iran’s Nuclear ambitions, changing their choice of future power generation from Nuclear to renewables ought to reduce those damaging external pressures on Iran. Of course whether or not they see the oil/gas running out any time soon, saving it for more valuable uses, either domestic or export, by substituting cheaper wind/solar for oil/gas based electricty just makes economic sense.

  • Benjamin Nead

    This is great news and I’m happy for the people of Iran. It was such a tragedy that their previous leadership so emphasized the building of nuclear power plants (which, of course, blurred the distinction between utility power and what could be surreptitiously used in the way of weapons production,) with the rest of the world having to engage in strangling the country with economic sanctions.

    • wattleberry

      Hmmm- what happened to said nuclear power plants that still necessitates an alternative? No worries, probably just a supplement…..I suppose.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect there is/was also a non-weapons reason for building nuclear. Nuclear as a status symbol. A sign that “We are a modern country”.

      As renewables become the ‘new modern’ that reason for building nuclear will fade away. Countries don’t brag about extending land lines for telephones any longer.

      • Alfredo Sanchez

        You want modern, try building a hydrogen fusion reactor like the one they are working in France. The US government has been funding one for decades.

        • Bob_Wallace

          If it ever produces affordable electricity get back to us.

          Until then, best we install what works and produces cheap electricity.

          • Alfredo Sanchez

            Electricity is affordable even by today’s green standards, we are just to wasteful…You want affordability! … pass a nation wide law that demands all new homes built in 2016 in the sun belt states to have solar power panels. No reason why homes in New Mexico couldn’t get up to 80% of their electricity from the sun in conjunction with better building materials. In hurricane prone areas, solar panels can be installed on windows, or improved electromagnetic shield in homes to prevent heat transfer could easily replace the current foam shield being used today nationwide. Bricks, clay are much better heat insulator than wood… if you look at the homes in other nations, many don’t need a central a/c unit, and yet their homes keep cool even during the heat of the summer.

  • ThomasGerke

    “Renewables for peace” 😉

    When relying on valueable oil & gas for electricity generation, it makes the most sense to switch to wind & solar as fast as possible.

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