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AskPablo: Can we get enough power from the sun to power America?

| Monday April 7th, 2008 | 0 Comments

I’ve read in more than one place that 100 square miles of solar panels in the U.S. would meet all our energy needs. Wondering if you thought this was accurate and, if so, achievable?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could completely switch from being a carbon-based economy to being a solar-based economy? The answer shouldn’t be too hard to find but the conclusions might surprise you.
Solar photovoltaic modules or panels convert beams of energy from the sun — photons — into electrons, which we can then use as electricity. According to Dan Berger, senior project designer at SPG Solar, we receive about 6.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square meter of solar energy per day, or 2,373 kWh per square meter per year. At 12 percent efficiency, the solar panels generate 285 kWh per year. The average American used 12,000 kWh in 2003, so each person would need around 42 square meters of solar panels (about 450 square feet).
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/04/07/ask_pablo_solar/index.html


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