Less atmosphere between solar panels and the sun equals more power converted into electricity, says a new map of global solar irradiance. That means high-altitude communities — like every mountain chain from the Andes to Patagonia — could be the next frontier in producing solar power.

In addition, the cool temperatures at altitude make panels more efficient, whereas traditionally sunny climes can worsen their performance because sunshine and heat usually go hand in hand.

Photo: Mahatma4711

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.