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How Much Land It Would Take To Power The Entire U.S. With Solar?

11 May

Interesting.  The solar energy question is not as simple as the following video implies.  There are questions of battery technology and perhaps the supply of some exotic elements.  But there’s also a growing body of research and technology that will make solar energy increasingly efficient and irresistible over the next few years.

Given that harvesting solar energy from the sun is much easier than extracting coal or crude oil out of the earth, and given that solar is far less dangerous to operate than atomic energy, it seems obvious that that we’re headed towards a near future without fossil fuels or atomic energy.

This video helps make that future seem easier, imminent and inevitable.

video       00:01.04

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Energy, Video

 

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11 responses to “How Much Land It Would Take To Power The Entire U.S. With Solar?

  1. Ralph P. Torello

    May 11, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    I sort of like this stuff… I wanted to get involved with it (solar panels) many times… You know the biggest benefit of solar-energy & batter cars (over “big coal” and “big oil”) is that it could provide with a massive decentralization of government authority. “The Environment” argument on the CNN-news is so awful to listen to!!! One issue about Coal & Oil is that it is very manual labor intensive. It is low-skilled labor, and it requires an around the clock punctuality of the managers who run refiners, coal mines, oil rigs, trucks, generators… etc… This is how “big government” justifies and gets its way with silencing people… “We have important stuff to do – take a hike moon-cheese!”

    Solar would sort of require higher skilled labor… Also, mainly, once constructed – it WOULD NOT require year-round and round-the-clock workers to continuously run furnaces, stip-mines, and of course dig thousands of feet in the ground! Panels on top of Tom Thumb would eliminate that grocery store’s dependence on “big government” and “big brother.”

    As for “the environment” – do you remember (by any chance) that Dallas used to look a lot different? There weren’t so many restaurants (far fewer) – and people would be outside more often engaging in “community” type of events. There are hundreds of slides (also) at the Richardson Library of: parades, parties, functions, marching bands that took place in the 1970’s (and early 80’s).

    So much of Richardson was destroyed (one way or another!) in the 1980’s – and now everything is just ASPHALT and CONCRETE…. If they brought solar panels to these retail-sales-places (Tom Thumb, Wal-Mart) … and brought back the palm trees, hay-on-the-parking-lot ground, banyan trees, and “beautified north Dallas” – solar could probably drop the temperature in the summer around “Tom Thumb” 10 degrees!

    Maybe people might even throw a party in Dallas for the first time in 20 years… There is just no sense of society what-so-ever here in Dallas… It’s so de-humanizing..

     
  2. Charles

    May 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    The problem with using solar to power “the entire US” is scale. When the sun doesn’t shine you need batteries for backup. The number and size of batteries necessary to support the entire grid is cost prohibitive. Solar works on a small scale like your house. It’s great for that. Similarly, coal and nuclear are great on a large scale like “the entire US,” but it doesn’t make sense to have a nuclear reactor in every home. Most people are oblivious to how the power grid is a tool of control. Small scale means independence, and the gov-co can’t allow that. That’s why you’ll never be allowed to power your home solely on solar. Virtually every locale in the US requires that if you have solar panels, the panels must be connected to the grid.

     
    • Ralph P. Torello

      May 11, 2016 at 11:59 AM

      Is this Charles Torello? (my brother?) Is this Charlie? You know Charlie worked on the Oil Fields for like 2 or 3 years… You should ask him about it.

       
  3. dog-move

    May 11, 2016 at 1:51 PM

    Urban renewal is taking place and America is being transformed into a third or forth world economic reality. The regulation coming down from the federal level is going to strangle what remains any semblance of the free enterprise system. The populace is discovering they are getting robbed of their time– traffic and traffic jams and lines everywhere to make any sort of purchase. Business cannot afford to staff their front line operations as the cost of employing anyone is going through the roof. Anytime I drive if not going 15 miles over speed limit I get run off the road and/or flipped off. Unless I drive the 85 F-150, then other drivers stay away for fear of tonnage and rust.
    My saying at work (retail) “the American people will not transition well into the third world”. It’s happening before your very eyes. It’s reality and maybe even frightening but the silver lining is clear if you have learned from reading this blog of were tobe financially and thoughtfully.
    p.s there isn’t enough silver available to go solar.

     
  4. Jethro!

    May 12, 2016 at 12:20 AM

    Seems reasonable… Until you realize that putting up 11,200,000 acres of solar panels would be about the equivalent of paving over all of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island with solar panels. Not counting the batteries (would that take up all of New Hampshire?)

     
  5. Adask

    May 12, 2016 at 5:06 AM

    New Hampshire is optional. Perhaps they could hold a referendum.

    The video mighti’ve been more effective if it also showed how many acres would’ve been required to power the U.S. with solar energy, say, ten years ago–based on the solar energy technology that existed at that time.

    I’m only guessing, but I suspect it might’ve required twice as many acres of solar energy panels in A.D. 2006 as it would today. Connect the dots and we might infer that by A.D. 2026, the total number of acres of solar energy panels needed to power the entire U.S. might be half what’s shown in the video for today. If we projected out to A.D. 2036 or A.D. 2046, we’d eventually come to a point where the solar technology was too efficient to be resisted. At that point, use of fossil fuels would virtually disappear.

    My point is that, as solar energy technology advances, the total investment in solar energy panels needed to power the whole country will become less and less until it finally makes good, cost-effective sense to run the whole country on solar energy. Eventually, we might be able to run the whole country on solar based on only covering an total area the size of “Rhode Island” with solar panels.

    There is a mass of FREE, solar energy striking the earth every day. All we need is a reliable technology to harvest that FREE solar energy and we’ll have all the energy we could ever need or want. Coal isn’t free, crude oil isn’t free, nuclear fission power isn’t free. Solar requires an initial investment in panels, but after that, solar energy is essentially FREE. Who can resist that temptation of FREE energy?

    Solar power is inevitable–unless, nuclear fusion makes some remarkable advances.

     
    • moon

      May 16, 2016 at 9:06 AM

      Al, Don’t know the answer to your question, however, I keep cheering for the Cedar Park, Texas company, EEStor.

      eestorcorp.com en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEStor

      Seems to me that the move toward power companies buying excess electricity/solar energy produced at homes and businesses is the solution. Incentives are already in place to make solar installation for houses and commercial buildings feasible. Continuation of this trend both increases supply of electricity and reduces demand.

       
  6. palani

    May 12, 2016 at 6:02 AM

    My vote is for tethered solar panels in space. Size hundreds of square miles. Use the tether to return the electricity to earth. Use inflatable balloons as structural elements with the solar panels nothing more than cellophane thin membranes. Rockets to follow the sun and robots to maintain.

     
  7. Wayne

    May 12, 2016 at 2:17 PM

    they already have free energy technology, Their goal is to rape the planet and kill everyone

     
  8. GEORGE

    May 12, 2016 at 3:11 PM

     
  9. Peg-Powers

    May 19, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    It’s easy to see there are many acres of a solar power installation just south of the USAir Force Academy Airfield near I-25 NE Colorado Springs, CO, for the use of the Air Force.

     

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