Can Solar Energy Power Up Our Future – Maybe Someday, But Not Yet

It is considered noble to dream of an alternative energy future, I myself enjoy thinking here, but I also realize that the law of unintended consequences is as real as Murphy and that too must be taken into consideration. Far too often dreamers throw away reality and the laws of physics without considering the road ahead, and for this reason I’ve recommended the book; “Physics for Future Presidents” by Robert Muller to more than a few people at our think tank.

Let’s take this conversation to a higher level, and talk about the Sun and solar energy potentials using our current technology. You see, there was an interesting article published in Physorg (dot) com on August 6, 2013 titled; “Report firms up land-use requirements of solar: 1,000 homes would require 32 acres,” and it would appear to me, that if this is so, then solar energy can’t work for our needs currently. Now then, recently it was debated that in essence it is feasible, here is the debate issue:

“The article indicates, 1000 homes require 32 acres, so that’s 0.032 acres per home. 1 acre = 4047 m^2, so that’s 130 m^2 per home, much less than the roof area of a typical home. So don’t we have enough space for solar? I don’t see the need to allocate more space than we’ve already covered with houses, office buildings, and parking lots. And transmission lines already reach these sorts of places.”

Yes, but the current technology isn’t sufficient for that level of efficiency. Indeed, much of the realities to roof top solar might look good on paper, but it doesn’t pan out, roof tops require special alignment to match Sun’s path, plus shading of vegetation, etc., it’s not as stellar as formulated. And, I must ask; what about LA, I don’t see 32 acres per 1000 homes worth of space anywhere, and for solar to work you need it for large cities, where a high percentage of homes are to be efficient.

Now then, someday when solar technology is more efficient, let’s say 40% and you can coat playgrounds, roads, buildings and spray it on like paint, which may be possible at those efficiency levels, then it will work in the city. But if you put the panels in solar farms in the desert it could costs billions to build transmission lines and land use issues are everywhere, they can’t even make solar farms work with all the regulations, environmental restrictions, costs and bureaucracy – and look, I am not a naysayer, I am just saying. Please consider all this and think on it.