When it comes to those who criticize #solar power, a common notion is that there isn’t enough of it to make much of a dent. What some don’t realize is that #solar could easily provide electricity to just under half of the country, or even more – and this is at the very minimum. There is a whole lot of potential when it comes to solar power.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, conducted a research study which revealed that approximately 40% of electricity generation in the #United States could be provided just by rooftop solar power alone. A good portion of the potential (two-thirds, actually) comes from residential buildings rather than commercial properties. So, the personal decision of a consumer to install #solar panels could be a powerful force behind the growth of the solar industry.
One might assume that land would have to be changed in order to construct solar plants, but think about all of the residential rooftops, single-family home rooftops, commercial building rooftops, parking lot rooftops and so on which are just sitting, empty – these could all be used to provide the space needed for solar panels.
According to Elon Musk, one would be able to power the United States using solar panels, and you just might be surprised at the number of solar panels which would be required to do this. Musk believes it would take just a small corner of Utah, Nevada or Texas – one would only require approximately 100 by 100 miles of solar panels to provide power to the United States. And you might be wondering – what about the batteries needed to store the #energy? Easy. You would only need one square mile!
These numbers might actually be on the high end, too. When making the calculations, the assumption was lower solar panel efficiency than current technology can produce. Basically, with the same amount of space mentioned, more solar power would potentially be generated.
What would the cost look like? For such a huge solar power project, how many solar panels would be needed? How would the cost of solar hardware be impacted if things were made at such a large scale? These are great questions, and they need to be asked. We could look to a place such as Florida’s Babcock Ranch as a reference point – this is a place that relies almost completely on solar power. And it works.
The truth is, it really is not necessary to power all of the United States using solar panels alone because we have other environmentally-friendly options such as wind power, geothermal resources, and so on. Factoring this notion into the situation, one realizes it is indeed possible to power the United States using clean energy alone, even if we don’t only focus on solar power.
Solar power does not have to only come from solar panels placed on the land or on rooftops. We could use solar arrays on water, too. There is a huge floating solar power plant in China, and it is expected to be able to generate 150 megawatts of electric power this summer. When we put our minds to it, it is truly amazing what can be accomplished. For naysayers who disagree that the United States could be powered entirely by clean energy, we must remind ourselves that nothing is impossible (the word itself says “I’m possible” as per the famous Audrey Hepburn).
We have an abundance of infrastructure projects related to bridges and roads, so the question we must ask is: why not solar power? Focusing on expanding the usage of solar power across the United States could help our country become more independent as it relates to energy, but it could also positively impact the environment by reducing air pollution tremendously. Follow solar news to read about the latest developments and let’s keep focusing on clean energy!