The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan has conducted solar energy research on some the coldest regions of the global, including the Himalaya Mountains, the Andes and Antarctica.
In order to know which parts of the world are most suited to generating renewable energy, scientists need a complete understanding of the weather in a particular geographical location. Because of gaps in this type of knowledge, up until this point, arid regions with abundant sunshine like the deserts of the American southwest have received the most attention, and development, for their solar potential.
But while areas like the Mojave desert are ideal for large solar arrays, the Japanese scientists are now focusing on frigid mountain ranges that also receive a large amount of sunlight. In fact, in some cases, these high elevations are actually better suited to solar energy production than the deserts. One area of particular interest, because it could potentially support the ever-growing Chinese energy demands nearby, is the Himalayas.
Of course, there are many factors to consider other than the effects of temperature alone on the the solar cells’ efficiency. Snowfall is also a major concern, understandably, as well as energy loss during transmission across long distances, which will hopefully one day include transfer across international borders.