We’re written about Desertec, a solar pipeline spanning from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, extensively. When the $555 billion project is completed, it could provide up to 15% of Europe’s total electricity needs. The Desertec Industrial Initiative has plenty of big-name partners, including Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Schott Solar, Abengoa, and Cevital. And now First Solar, one of our Most Innovative Companies for 2010, has joined the ranks.
First Solar is the first pure photovoltaic company to get on board with Desertec. As part of its role as an Associated Partner, First Solar will offer up advice on utility scale solar installations, prepare on-the-ground reference projects, and help with a general roll-out plan. The company knows what it’s doing–First Solar has constructed utility-scale solar plants in the deserts of both the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.
There is still a mind-numbing amount of work to be done before Desertec can launch. It will take three years just to finish planning the project, at which point construction can begin. After that, well, just imagine how long it will take to finish solar farms and the accompanying trans-continental pipelines to supply Europe with 15% of its energy needs.