Assessing Solar Energy Potential over West Africa under Climate Change: The Case of Niger
Mohamed Zodi, Saddam
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In the context of climate mitigation and adaptation for sustainable development and given the rising energy consumption as a result of economic development and human population growth, renewable and clean energy alternatives have become of primary importance. Solar energy is considered one of the most popular sources of renewable energy. However, due to meteorological and environmental conditions, the solar energy potential varies depending on the geographical locations. This study is aimed at assessing the solar energy potential of the cities of Niamey and Agadez in Niger for both present (1979-2005) and future (2019-2050) climates. The study required the collection and analysis of climatic data. As a modelling approach is being used, atmospheric model data from the West African Science Service Centre for Climate and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) has been collected. The study was conducted using the output of the 12-km spatial resolution weather research and forecasting (WRF) model. The RCP 4.5 climate change scenario was used for the future climate. The results showed an increase of swddif of up to +2W/m2 is observed in Agadez and around 1W/m2 for Niamey. The increase in swddir is almost the same for Niamey and Agadez and is up to 6 W/m2. The lowest radiation values are observed in December and January. The rainy season coincides with the high solar radiation summer months. For the temperature, in compared to the reference period (1979-2005), there is an increase of temperature over both localities for the near future (2019-2050) where the it is up 2.1°C in Niamey and 1.9°C in Agadez. As for the far future (2069-2100), the increase is up to 3° C for Niamey and 2.6° C for Agadez. Thus, based on the three parameters used in this study, both localities are suitable for solar energy applications but Agadez have slightly higher values of direct irradiation compared to Niamey. Additionally, investigations were conducted to determine the existing renewable energy policies and policy recommendations were made for the promotion of solar energy in the Niger.