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More thoughts on Solar

In October I wrote a piece, Here Comes the Sun, where I speculate that there is a feedback loop in which higher oil prices create more demand for alternate power, and in the case of solar, specifically photovoltaic cells which are silicon based, the cost drops as the production rises. I received positive responses, but one question stuck with me. Don’t we need to conserve? To reduce the ever increasing demand for energy? I came upon a little illustration which compared current worldwide usage to available solar power, and wind as well.solar powerIt would seem that there’s far more capacity than demand by a huge 6000X margin. You might object, thinking that this wouldn’t help the global warming crisis, but that’s not so. Energy is neither created or destroyed, in the case of oil, it’s locked up in the oil and released by combustion, heat is certainly created, along with much pollution. In the case of solar, the rays of the sun that would hit the earth are going to hit us anyway. Converting some to electricity to power your home doesn’t create more heat than it would have otherwise. think about this. (By the way, these panels will not take the place of farmland and impact the food supply, as I fear any grain based energy production would. The first place for panels are rooftops, to power the buildings below and take some demand off the grid. Next, 1/7 of the world’s surface is desert. See that number above? (89,000 TW) 1/7 of that can be supplied by using unlivable, unfarmable desert land. 12,700 TW is still a great margin of safety.

JOE

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