Saturday, October 3, 2015

How many solar panels do we need to power the Earth?

Keep this article nearby for the next time one of your fossil-fuel-loving friends scoffs at your solar energy advocacy and demands to know how many solar panels it would take to power the Earth’s needs.

Rebecca Harrington
 of Tech Insider posed that question and got the answer from the Land Art Generator Initiative which provided the map below that shows just how little space it really would take. 

And the answer is?

If solar is 20% efficient (
as it has been in lab tests) at turning solar energy into power, we'd only need to cover a land area about the size of Spain to power the entire Earth renewably in 2030.

And this is today. Solar panels and solar battery storage, however, are both areas of intense research that has been producing significant cost-savings for the technology in recent years.  The amount of energy that solar panels generate will continue to rise as its cost of application continues to drop.
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