By Tom Daly
A unique plant - which combines solar, natural gas and steam power generation - is set to be operational by 2010.
Iran's first solar energy power plant, located in the central province of Yazd, will be operational by 2010, an official has confirmed.
In what is considered a global first, the project will combine energy from a solar farm with conventional cycle natural gas and steam power generation.
"At this power plant we have combined two 159 MW gas power plants, a 132 MW steam power plant and a 17 MW solar power plant," said Mohammad-Reza Al-Madrasi, head of the Yazd Solar Energy Power Plant (YSEPP).
"Implementation of this project places Iran among the few countries in the world that are designing and taking advantage of combined solar power plants in the world," he added.
The contractor for the US $170 million project is the Iran Electricity Development Organisation, which commenced the executive phase of the project in autumn last year. The first gas unit is due to be launched 27 months from the beginning of the executive phase, whilst the solar unit will be operational by 2010.
Al-Madrasi added that Iran would be able to generate three times its current power capacity if it exploited the potential of regions suitable for solar energy.