Evaluation of the viability of solar PV for Kurdistan




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Journal ISSN




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World Energy and Environment Technology Ltd



Peer reviewed



Iraqi Kurdistan, or officially the Kurdistan Region, is an autonomous region of Iraq. Following the Iraq war of 2003, it became relatively stable and prosperous, at least compared to the rest of Iraq which was very unstable. More recently the Kurdistan Region has played a major role in the war against ISIS, and receiving large numbers of refugees and displaced persons from surrounding conflict zones, particularly Syria. These factors have led to a rapid increase in energy demand. The region has gas and oil, and also generates hydro power. Most of the country is on the electricity grid, but supply is often unable to meet demand causing frequent power cuts and rationing. Some of the shortfall is made up by private generators connected locally to the grid. Solar photovoltaic (PV) power has seen rapid growth globally in recent years due mainly to falling prices of panels, and proven performance. In the Kurdistan Region PV has very low penetration, but great potential given high levels of solar radiation. However, within the Kurdistan Region there is great variation in the viability of PV power due to differences in climate, political stability, and proximity to conflict. This paper, using novel data gathering methods because conventional approaches are impractical, assesses the potential for PV in 31 locations according to seven criteria, and gives an overall score from 0 to 10. Eight scored 8-10; fourteen scored 6-7. The results show a wide variation in suitability of PV. A similar approach could be applied to analyze viability in other regions with similar issues. The technical options for PV connection are considered, including cost and potential for islanding, together with other renewable energy options.



energy, Kurdistan, photovoltaic, electricity, PV


Wright, A. and Bulbas, T. (2017) Evaluation of the viability of solar PV for Kurdistan. In: Singh, R. and Agarwal, A. (eds) WEENTECH Proceedings in Energy- Volume 5 International Conference on Energy, Environment and Economics -ICEEE2017, Coventry: World Energy and Environment Technology Ltd, pp. 26–31.


Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)