Solar and Wind Farms in the Sahara Desert

New research in Science magazine shows that installing solar and wind farms in the Sahara Desert could generate massive amounts of electricity and turn parts of the desert green for the first time in over 4,500 years. 

Solar and Wind Farms in the Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert (source: Wikipedia)
The Sahara Desert (source: Wikipedia)

Atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland, Eugenia Kalnay, has been working on this theory for over ten years, postulating that the darkness of solar panels won’t reflect the sunlight – helping heat up the surface of the land – which will in turn drive air upwards into the atmosphere (which, in turn, generates rain). 

Dr. Kalnay talked one of her post-doc researchers into creating a computer simulation where 20% of the Sahara is covered with solar panels. They also tried a simulation where the desert was covered in turbines to generate renewable energy from wind. The simulation was successful – with rainfall in the desert increasing by a large enough amount so that vegetation could return to the Sahara.

“It is wonderful!” Dr. Kalnay was quoted as saying in an article by NPR. “We were so happy because it seems like a major solution for some of the problems that we have.”

The Sahara Desert solar farm in the simulation is gigantic – bigger than the entire continental United States. It’d be able to generate 400% of the energy the world currently requires. Would there be a way to install high-capacity transmission lines to transport this power across seas and land? It’s certainly a fantastic concept that seems straight out of a science fiction novel, but technology is increasing at such a pace that ideas like this are, whilst admittedly still in nascent stages, potentially viable. 

Take a look at our articles on printable solar panels/cells to see how, if room wasn’t an issue, how much cheaper large-scale solar could be with lower efficiency panels. 

More great information for solar cell technology. Just a thought experiment at this point but it’s exciting to see what the future could hold for renewable energy in the Sahara Desert! 


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BlitzWolf BW-L1 20W/3A Portable Solar Charger

The BlitzWolf BW-L1 is a foldable, portable solar charger which is able to charge all phone models and portable lithium ion battery packs with 21.5% – 23.5% efficiency (as compared with the ~15% most portable solar panels offer). It’s a quality mobile phone solar charger with SunPower panels at a very reasonable price. Let’s take a look at some more specs and information about the charger!

BlitzWolf BW-L1 Solar Charger Battery Charger
BlitzWolf BW-L1 Solar Charger Battery Charger (source: supplied)

BlitzWolf BW-L1 Portable Solar Battery Charger

The charger comes with three solar panels which hold 20W of power at a total maximum output of 5 volts / 3 amps (via two USB 2.0 connectors – so you don’t have to fight with your friend over who gets the charge). Give its foldability, low weight, and the eye holes installed in the corner, it’s perfect for attaching to your backpack as you’re out camping or hiking – usually the problem with something like this is the charger doesn’t automatically restart charging when the sun fades – requiring you to pull the cords out to reboot it. Very frustrating if you’re hiking through trees or on a cloudy day!

Model BW-L1
Total maximum Output                    5V /3A                           
Power 20W
Panel Type SunPower
Opened Size 270*675*4 mm
Closed Size 270*150*28 mm
Weight 550g

Buy BlitzWolf BW-L1 in Australia

The BlitzWolf 20W portable, foldable outdoor solar charger with fast charge Power3s Technology (click here to learn about BlitzWolf’s Power3S – not quite QC but it does the trick) is available quite cheaply online. It won’t run a fridge or power a campsite but it’ll certainly help a phone/tablet/laptop (depending on whether it has USB charging or not) get a charge back. The product is rugged, well made, and performs impressively given its price point (not to mention the 18 month warranty!). 

As of today, there are a few good deals on this product around the internet:

  • It’s $63.34 AUD + free shipping at Banggood.
  • It’s $~54.10 AUD shipped at Amazon US (as per Ozbargain). 
  • It’s $89 on eBay (local shipping). 

More Information

If you’re interested in other solar camping products please follow the link to read some more reviews from Saving With Solar. 

If you’re interested in an unboxing / video review of the Blitzwolf solar charger please click the video below which explains it in further detail!

UPDATE: We’ve added a second and third video in case you want to learn more about the product before pulling the trigger. 

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