A huge solar panel in Tunisia could provide cheap energy to 2.5m homes in the UK by 2018.
The plan has been put forward by the TuNur – a partnership between Tunisian investors led by TOP Group and Glory Clean Energy, and UK-based Nur Energie.
They are currently seeking funding from the UK government, according to the BBC.
If it goes ahead, the panel will represent the first large solar export project between the two countries, bringing in two gigawatts of solar power to the UK from Tunisia each year.
It would use concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, enabling the developers to store some of the energy so that access can be switched on and off on demand. Three years worth of solar data has been gathered from the location, which TuNur says has been independently verified.
One of the main benefits, according to TuNur, is that the panel would be cheaper than many current methods for generating energy. TuNur says it would cost the UK government 20 per cent more than many UK-based techniques such as offshore wind.
Earlier this year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) published new rules allowing foreign developers of renewable energy projects to apply for contracts guaranteeing subsidies to supply power. In order to gain funding, the project needs to win one of these contracts.
But funding is not the only obstacle TuNur must overcome in order to build the panel – legislation has to be passed in the Tunisian parliament to allow the energy to be exported. So far, TuNur says it has spent 10m euros on initial development of the site in southern Tunisia.