While salt deposits underlie vast areas and millions of miles of ocean shoreline, theoretically, could be used for solar salt production, commercially viable production is possible in a more limited number of locations. Beyond the depth and purity of the salt (for rock salt) and the climate (for solar salt), important considerations for commercial viability include proximity to the market for the salt since salt is a heavy bulk commodity which can be expensive to transport. Production with easy access to water transport is advantageous for the same reason; indeed the availability of economical transport options offers important competitive advantages. Likewise, the availability of knowledgeable and productive employees and access to capital to sink a mine shaft, acquire mineral rights or secure vast acreage for solar evaporating ponds is essential. Around the world, many families support themselves in whole or part by salt “farming” along the beaches where they live, but commercially-viable production, several orders of magnitude greater, offers enormous economies of scale.
In North America several large salt formations determine the location of salt production sites as shown in this
map (pdf 1.08 MB)
(click to enlarge and then to zoom into any area).