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Libya Solar Potential 5x Larger Than Oil Reserves (Infographic)

June 29th, 2013 by Amber Archangel

If Libya covered just 0.1% of its land mass with solar panels, it could generate around five times the amount of energy from solar power that it currently produces in crude oil according to research published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Libya is the 16th largest country in the world in terms of land mass according to OPEC.org. Its economy depends primarily on revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95 percent of export earnings, about one quarter of gross domestic product, and 60 percent of public sector wages. Substantial revenues from the energy sector, combined with a small population, give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa.

Libya has the potential to become a renewable energy giant according to Responding to Climate Change. It boasts a very high daily solar radiation rate — on a flat coastal plain it is about 7.1 kilowatt hours per square metre per day (kWh/m²/day) and in the south region it is about 8.1kWh/m²/day.

If you compare the UK to Libya, Great Britain has less than half that amount at about 2.95kWh/m²/day.

Because Libya has developed its economy based on oil and natural gas, it is a struggle to change that structure. The country does not have the skilled workforce to install and maintain renewable energy systems. With the right investment and training, the country could surpass its current revenue base with clean, sustainable energy. Libya has the potential to supply all of its own electricity needs and an exportable, significant part of its neighbor’s needs from the renewable energy resources available in this oil rich country. 

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