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Solar Chernobyl: A New Beginning

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Solar Chernobyl: A New Beginning

A story rose out of the ashes in October last year, which provides a perfect illustration of where the world has been and where it is going with regards to our energy needs. Solar panels have been installed about 300 feet from the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.

In April 1986, routine safety tests were being conducted at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The tests were simulating a blackout power failure, which resulted in safety systems being turned off. A combination of flaws associated with the design of the power plant led to one of the worst nuclear events in history.

Now, 32 years after the Chernobyl disaster, the site has once again adopted a manmade technology designed to provide us with the power we need, only this time, lessons have been learned.

On October 5th 2018, Solar Chernobyl started operating. The entire installation has a capacity of 1MW. An additional 6000 acres could be opened for more solar farms, increasing the capacity to as much as 100 MW.


Figure 2 – Image courtesy of [3] shows the PV panels installed beside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

It may not be the power station promised, but it provides an almost poetic, bookended story to Chernobyl. The promise of ultimate power, torn away in the most catastrophic of circumstances, only to return years later with a more modest request. Over the past 30 years the world has become more conscious of our impact on the world, and with this modest request for a fraction of the power, it shows we have learned lessons and are actively trying to make the world more habitable for all life.

Darren McMahon

Darren McMahon
Project Manager

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