Renewable energy continues to grow its share of the energy market during the past few years. This is evident by the fact that in 2010, renewable energy supplied an estimated 16% of global final energy consumption, and that the trend still moves upward despite the overall downturn in global energy consumption in 2009. In Iran, a total of 7797.3 Megawatts renewable energy has been utilized for electricity production during the period between 3/2009 and 3/2010 (i.e. the Iranian official year). This sum yields from four renewables, namely hydro (7704.7 MW), wind (90.6 MW), biogas (1.9 MW) and solar (0.1 MW). During the four year period between 2006 and 2010, the capacities of hydro and wind plants have experienced increases of 27.5% and 90.2%, respectively. In this paper, the current status of the renewable energy in the world in general and in Iran in specific is reviewed and the growth trends are presented with particular emphasis on solar energy. A brief assessment of solar radiation in Iran is then presented and accordingly, the potential locations for each application are identified. These potential locations generally absorb a daily solar irradiation of more than 4.5 kWh/m2, a value that most probably ensures the financial feasibility for a variety of solar thermal applications. A solar radiation map for Iran, indicating appropriate application for each region (based on the average calculated daily radiation for that region), is also presented. Moreover, the relevant researches and investigations conducted in Iran are introduced (including pilot projects and those under development and/or construction).

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