Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Solar Power, Sort Of

Lets put the solar problem for example... in perspective.

The US uses 29PWh per year in energy. That doesn't sound like much until you realize that a PWh is 1 quadrillion (that's a 1 with 15 zeros behind it) watts. 29 of THOSE. That's a lot. Right?

Now... it take About 4.5 acres to make 1 mega watt.... which is 1 million watts. (that comes from a tree hugger pro-solar site, so with the standard fudge factor its probably twice that much but for the sake of argument will pretend they aren't fibbing.)

Ok.. so there are 2.3 billion acres of land in the US (I did not survey it myself. I googled it. Its a big number and I expected a big number so I went with it.). So if we were to wipe out the entire USA... clear cut the whole thing... and assume that all of it will produce electricity at the best possible rate.... A little division tells us that's 511,111,111 mega watts. In reality that number is WAY over estimated but again... we'll go with it.

I see your eyes glazing over.... you're seeing BIG number and another BIG number but the perspective is hard. So let me spare you the trouble of pulling out your old scientific calculator... and point out that if we wiped out the whole US... and covered it with the most advanced solar power plants we wouldn't even make .0000058% of the power we currently consume.

That... is how utter pathetic and useless solar power is.

But look... do you really understand how small that is?

One more bit of perspective for you... imagine owing a hospital 1 million dollars. Its do now. Right now. And you have $58 bucks in your checking account.

I did all this on my own... mostly in my head... so please feel free to check the math. I will include any corrections that need to be made here. Regardless... you'll see that solar is simply pathetic.

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