How Many Solar Panels Would Be Needed to Power Earth?

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How Many Solar Panels Would Be Needed to Power Earth?

Solar Power farm

If we wanted to use solar power to renewably power the Earth, how many solar panels would we need? Not as many as you might think.

Elon Musk thinks that solar power will be the biggest energy source by 2031, but for that to happen, we need to construct a lot more solar panels. But just how many would we need?

According to the Energy Information Administration, solar power provided less than one half of 1 percent of the U.S. energy last year. Pretty pitiful considering that the amount of power from the sun that hits the earth in one hour is more than the entire world uses in a single year.

So back to the question: What is need to power the Earth with solar energy? According to an article on Tech Insider, we would only need enough panels to cover an area about the size of Spain, or about 497,000 square kilometers to power the Earth by 2030. That is assuming that lab results are correct and solar panels effectively convert only about 20% of solar energy into power.

Check out the maps from the Land Art Generator Initiative and consider their computations. They also look at power from wind and waves.

All in favor of solar power?

Source: Tech Insider

Permalink

The problem is they are not making solar power effective enough for the average person. We have solar panels for instance, but, the energy from them does not go into our house, but instead into the grid, you only get the effect of they energy from your panel at the lowest rate, so any power you do use over what the panels generate can often cost more (if you go into a higher tier of energy usage, even if it's only during a short period). Power outages still affect you, and you don't gain any money/credit for additional energy that goes into the grid that you don't use.

So even with solar panels, we end up having a 0 balance/cost for most of the year, and then ower a bunch for the summer months (When our air conditioning is going most of the time, pool is powered etc.

What should happen is solar panels should be installed on most houses with a payment schedule that is similar to current power bills (over time you pay it all off and then don't pay any more at all). It should go directly to your house instead of on the grid (with just the excess going to the grid which you get a small credit for, or even possibly get paid for generating energy). If all the homes had solar panels it would probably generate most of the power needed right there (our house only has panels on half of our roof for instance, we could in theory generate enough power to supply 2 homes most of the time (and everything we need during the summer).

They did (possibly still do) have goverment incentive programs to get solar panels installed, but we got ours before they where available, and the other problems with solar panels still exist (Although if we had gotten them isntalled during those programs we probably would have gotten more of them, so we would not owe anything during the summer months either).

Solar panels should be the norm when constructing buildings at this point though. New schools should all have them, new homes/apartments should have them etc. It's crazy that is not the case.

It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

Erm, yeah, no. Despite the large use of solar Panels, they aren't that efferent as most of the energy is converted into heat or the light is reflected. They still need a few decades of research to yield any potential. I would rather have Fusion over solar Panels tbh.

Zontar:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

That's also pretty unacceptable. They're both viable methods of power generation so one shouldn't be favored at the exclusion of the other.

mad825:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

Erm, yeah, no. Despite the large use of solar Panels, they aren't that efferent as most of the energy is converted into heat or the light is reflected. They still need a few decades of research to yield any potential. I would rather have Fusion over solar Panels tbh.

Fusion is also a few decades away. They've only just recently managed to get a fusion reaction to create more energy than it used just getting the process started and that was in lab conditions. I really doubt that fusion will actually be a viable power source anytime in the near future. Unless you meant fission?

wulfy42:

Solar panels should be the norm when constructing buildings at this point though. New schools should all have them, new homes/apartments should have them etc. It's crazy that is not the case.

Couldn't agree more, there is simply no excuse for any new house to be built without solar powered water heating at the very least.

Zontar:
No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a nuclear reactor: 80 (yeah, more people have died falling off roofs installing solar panels!)
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a hydroelectric generator: 200,000+
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a coal power station: too many to count...

Hell, Fukushima took a direct hit from an earthquake then a tsunami and completely failed to actually kill anyone.
Nuclear is safe, even the crap reactor designs that governments insist on building.
It ends us using fossil fuels, massively reduces the crap we spew into the atmosphere, an no, the waste doesn't last forever, that's only the case for the older designs that are being phased out. Modern MSRs, TWRs, even modern (shudder) conventional reactors' waste is all either recyclable, reprocessable or simply non-existent.

But hey, NIMBY culture...

Zontar:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Kajin:

Zontar:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

That's also pretty unacceptable. They're both viable methods of power generation so one shouldn't be favored at the exclusion of the other.

Given how expensive and resource intensive solar power is, no, it really should not be considered a parallel option to nuclear given its brutal inefficiency. Nuclear's environmental impact is second to none in terms of how small it is, and its cost for energy production is second only to hydro. Solar is not a comparable option, it's much more money being used with much more resources to produce less power and the resources used makes the environmental footprint be larger on top of the orders of magnitude more space needed to produce the same amount of energy.

There is literally no positive to solar outside of the fact that some rich people can use it to have their homes be completely off the grid.

Dyson Spheres will be the biggest player in 2120

Ishigami:

Zontar:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Ah yes, disasters which showed that nuclear power is so safe it takes Soviet level incompetence or decades of mismanagement coupled with a once in a century natural disaster for anything to happen (and funny enough, outside of the area within a few hundred meters around the plants in questions, Chernobyl is literally the only place anywhere the disaster could be called "having any real effect", and that was the result of a plant which was in violation of safety standards that where set by the Soviets. In the 50s.

It's almost as if nuclear power isn't that dangerous, oh wait that's right more people have died from falling off roofs installing solar panels (seems someone else is aware of this here too).

Kajin:

mad825:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

Erm, yeah, no. Despite the large use of solar Panels, they aren't that efferent as most of the energy is converted into heat or the light is reflected. They still need a few decades of research to yield any potential. I would rather have Fusion over solar Panels tbh.

Fusion is also a few decades away. They've only just recently managed to get a fusion reaction to create more energy than it used just getting the process started and that was in lab conditions. I really doubt that fusion will actually be a viable power source anytime in the near future. Unless you meant fission?

Fusion has been here for ages, the issue isn't generating energy, hasn't been for a decade.

The issue is containment, the radiation pumped out by the reactor core obliterates the shielding in days, something like 300 atomic moves a month or thereabouts (ie due to radiation bombardment, every atom in the shielding is displaced 300 times a month, though I'd have to dig up some research papers from earlier this year for the exact numbers/timings) leading to incredibly rapid degradation and need for replacement. They're nearly there solving that too, it's more of a money issue now, getting it to beyond TRL 6.

In other words, we could build a working fusion power plant tomorrow, it'd cost too much compared with fission to keep it running though and modern fission reactors have eliminated many of the problems fusion solves anyway.

Zontar:

Ishigami:

Zontar:

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Ah yes, disasters which showed that nuclear power is so safe it takes Soviet level incompetence or decades of mismanagement coupled with a once in a century natural disaster for anything to happen (and funny enough, outside of the area within a few hundred meters around the plants in questions, Chernobyl is literally the only place anywhere the disaster could be called "having any real effect", and that was the result of a plant which was in violation of safety standards that where set by the Soviets. In the 50s.

It's almost as if nuclear power isn't that dangerous, oh wait that's right more people have died from falling off roofs installing solar panels (seems someone else is aware of this here too).

Right it's not like there is some soil that Japan still needs to figure out where to store because for some reason it is considered hazardous.
Not to mention that 2 cities probably will forever be in a restricted area where the world health organization deems it unhealthy to live in. Pure hyperbole.
I mean what could possible go wrong with a little bit more background radiation? Just look at Hiroshima! It is fine there are certainly no risks to your genome whatsoever.

As you said natural disasters are completely irrelevant. I men how many tornados, earth quakes, volcanic eruptions or hurricanes are there per year? Almost none at all.

I'm all for more nuclear power. Especially when it comes from your backyard.

Cheers!

Ishigami:
Snip

So basically you skimmed over my comment and didn't actually read it, since the second worst nuclear disaster in human history took literally no lives and had a very small area effected by it, all as a result of decades of mismanagement coupled with a once in a century natural disaster (you know those only happen once in a century, right? Not a thousand times a year like a tornado or earthquake, both of which we know do nothing of note to nuclear reactors because many have already been hit by them).

Your fear of nuclear power is based on nothing rational. Of the three examples sited, two took no lives and where the result of an under-regulated industry having safety regulations unenforced for longer then either of us have been alive coupled with a natural disaster which happens so infrequently pretty much no one was alive the last time one happened, all to culminate in a disaster which took no lives and effected a very small area even by the standards of Japan where land is much more valuable then most places. The last one, as stated before, was the result of 50s Soviet safety standards being ignored for decades leading a disaster which took few lives and made a moderately large area uninhabitable (though still visitable).

When you get rid of irrational fearmongering and look at the cold, hard facts, nuclear is the safest form of energy production both in terms of how many people die as a result of it compared to power output, and how much of a negative environmental impact it has compared to power output. It is, objectively and undeniably, the best option for power generation.

Which is probably why the founder of GreecPeace is pro-nuclear and has denounced the organization for being against nuclear power. (since it means they are actively working against their stated goal).

Cartographer:

wulfy42:

Solar panels should be the norm when constructing buildings at this point though. New schools should all have them, new homes/apartments should have them etc. It's crazy that is not the case.

Couldn't agree more, there is simply no excuse for any new house to be built without solar powered water heating at the very least.

Zontar:
No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a nuclear reactor: 80 (yeah, more people have died falling off roofs installing solar panels!)
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a hydroelectric generator: 200,000+
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a coal power station: too many to count...

Hell, Fukushima took a direct hit from an earthquake then a tsunami and completely failed to actually kill anyone.
Nuclear is safe, even the crap reactor designs that governments insist on building.
It ends us using fossil fuels, massively reduces the crap we spew into the atmosphere, an no, the waste doesn't last forever, that's only the case for the older designs that are being phased out. Modern MSRs, TWRs, even modern (shudder) conventional reactors' waste is all either recyclable, reprocessable or simply non-existent.

But hey, NIMBY culture...

*Sigh*

Zontar seems to be Canadian(so it is expected of him).

No idea about you.

But... do you think only 80 people died as a direct result of Chernobyl (AND Mayak)?

If so... meh... probably not worth my time...

Charcharo:

Cartographer:

wulfy42:

Solar panels should be the norm when constructing buildings at this point though. New schools should all have them, new homes/apartments should have them etc. It's crazy that is not the case.

Couldn't agree more, there is simply no excuse for any new house to be built without solar powered water heating at the very least.

Zontar:
No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a nuclear reactor: 80 (yeah, more people have died falling off roofs installing solar panels!)
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a hydroelectric generator: 200,000+
Number of worldwide deaths as a direct result of an accident at a coal power station: too many to count...

Hell, Fukushima took a direct hit from an earthquake then a tsunami and completely failed to actually kill anyone.
Nuclear is safe, even the crap reactor designs that governments insist on building.
It ends us using fossil fuels, massively reduces the crap we spew into the atmosphere, an no, the waste doesn't last forever, that's only the case for the older designs that are being phased out. Modern MSRs, TWRs, even modern (shudder) conventional reactors' waste is all either recyclable, reprocessable or simply non-existent.

But hey, NIMBY culture...

*Sigh*

Zontar seems to be Canadian(so it is expected of him).

No idea about you.

But... do you think only 80 people died as a direct result of Chernobyl (AND Mayak)?

If so... meh... probably not worth my time...

Please, enlighten me.
How many people do you think died as a result of Chernobyl.
I'd love to read about it and given nuclear safety is a big part of my job it would help me to find out more. If you have links to research papers or even just the names of them I can look them up; we have excellent links with international databases, university databases and hospital databases at work too so I can usually get hold of them within a week (longest our librarian has had to wait was for a hard-copy of a 60 year old paper).

*Edit*
Incidentally, here's a good start. The World Health Organisation's report on Chernobyl deaths (a little out of date, 2005, but hey I'm at home and can't access everything I normally would):
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/

"up to 4000 could eventually die" and most of those from the approximate 3% increase cancer rate (but are almost impossible to specifically identify) but as of 2005, "fewer than 50 deaths"...

Last I read (and this was a couple of years ago) that number was just over 80.

So, do you have anything reporting on numbers?

What we need to focus on is concentrated photovoltaics so we build smaller more efficient and expensive solar panels with a bunch of cheap mirrors around them to improve the efficiently so we can have solar panels like they have on the ISS but really tiny ones that are cheaper to make than an entire solar panel.

The problem isn't solar power, it's pretty much accepted as the future. It doesn't pose the threat nuclear energy and it barely produces any emissions, it's practically perfect.

The problem is that its source is one astronomical unit away, and that poses a lot of issues. What happens during an eclipse? If it's cloudy? If the solar panels get dirty or damaged due natural disasters (assuming they're properly maintained)? More commonly, what happens during the night?
What happens near the poles, where they don't have sunlight for half a year straight?
We currently don't have the technology to store any significant (global or single-country wise) amount of energy. Liquid metal batteries show promise, but it's still pretty early stage. Once we have a way to store that energy, which will also come at a cost which will affect the size of the solar panels projection, then we'll have significant progress. But even if the problems described are mitigated, they aren't completely sorted - a backup for a rainy day will always be needed, and I believe that even if nuclear reactors are adopted, some coal power plants are here to stay for a long time.

mad825:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

Erm, yeah, no. Despite the large use of solar Panels, they aren't that efferent as most of the energy is converted into heat or the light is reflected. They still need a few decades of research to yield any potential. I would rather have Fusion over solar Panels tbh.

The thing is; the conclusions above have taken that low efficiency into account. That's 497,000 square kilometers of solar panels all with around 20% efficiency. And that's already a pretty small area, imagine if we get reliable efficiency of about 40%.

Now, the question is of course; what other variables did these conclusions take into account? Loss through storage and transport, for instance? Expected median weather fluctuations? Etc etc? In the end, I don't think it's a real reliable figure.

However, a less specific conclusion can still be drawn: with current green energy technology it's already possible to at least supply vast more quantities of energy than we currently generate with it. And that's pretty damn shitty.

Ishigami:

Zontar:

Kajin:
It really is quite unacceptable that we aren't putting more effort into acquiring solar panels.

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Have you been there? Im sure those people didnt take it nice when you told them "hey not many of you died, you only lost your houses and everything you have, and now are condemned to live fearing an invisible thing that kills you slowly".
I dont want to sound judgmental but if you just looked at the victims numbers and went "Oh theyre not much, its ok then" then youre obviously going to fail at convincing people that nuclear power is the best solution for the future. (Which i think is true btw).

It also becomes a problem when you claim nuclear power is "the REAL and only practical solution" within an article thats shows how reasonable is to use the sun energy.

Spain has a total area of about 505,990 square kilometers.

Australia alone has about 1,371,000 square kilometres of desert that can't be used for much anyway and gets plenty of sun all year round so we may as well put some solar panels down on it.

Ideally, I think a combination of solar, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, and nuclear power; the most important factor being the vast reduction of the use of coal and petroleum. Solar and wind should definitely provide more of our power than they do, and the fact that the U.S. still gets about half of its power from coal is pretty deplorable. (Unsurprising, given how important coal mining is to several states, but still horrible; we can and should do better.)

So back to the question: What is need to power the Earth with solar energy? According to an article on Tech Insider, we would only need enough panels to cover an area about the size of Spain, or about 497,000 square kilometers to power the Earth by 2030.

I'm glad Spain is willing to make the sacrifice. ;)

Ylla:

Ishigami:

Zontar:

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Have you been there? Im sure those people didnt take it nice when you told them "hey not many of you died, you only lost your houses and everything you have, and now are condemned to live fearing an invisible thing that kills you slowly".
I dont want to sound judgmental but if you just looked at the victims numbers and went "Oh theyre not much, its ok then" then youre obviously going to fail at convincing people that nuclear power is the best solution for the future. (Which i think is true btw).

It also becomes a problem when you claim nuclear power is "the REAL and only practical solution" within an article thats shows how reasonable is to use the sun energy.

Its hardly Nuclear energy as a whole's fault. Its the Incompetence of the Soviet Administration, an administration who owned their buildings, their places of work, and their farms, live stock, just about everything really.

Ishigami:

Zontar:

Ishigami:

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Ah yes, disasters which showed that nuclear power is so safe it takes Soviet level incompetence or decades of mismanagement coupled with a once in a century natural disaster for anything to happen (and funny enough, outside of the area within a few hundred meters around the plants in questions, Chernobyl is literally the only place anywhere the disaster could be called "having any real effect", and that was the result of a plant which was in violation of safety standards that where set by the Soviets. In the 50s.

It's almost as if nuclear power isn't that dangerous, oh wait that's right more people have died from falling off roofs installing solar panels (seems someone else is aware of this here too).

Right it's not like there is some soil that Japan still needs to figure out where to store because for some reason it is considered hazardous.
Not to mention that 2 cities probably will forever be in a restricted area where the world health organization deems it unhealthy to live in. Pure hyperbole.
I mean what could possible go wrong with a little bit more background radiation? Just look at Hiroshima! It is fine there are certainly no risks to your genome whatsoever.

As you said natural disasters are completely irrelevant. I men how many tornados, earth quakes, volcanic eruptions or hurricanes are there per year? Almost none at all.

I'm all for more nuclear power. Especially when it comes from your backyard.

Cheers!

You're trying to be sarcastic and facetious. But you're undermining your own point. Hiroshima IS fine, thank you very much, and it and Nagasaki are both thriving cities.

The biggest killer from these nuclear disasters isn't the radiation itself, but the fear of the radiation (Leading to depression, stress, and alcohol-induced deaths)

Ylla:

Ishigami:

Zontar:

No it's not, what's unacceptable is that nuclear power, the REAL and only practical solution to ending fossil fuel use in the world, is stigmatized as though it's a legitimate danger to society despite being both the most cost effective and having pretty much the smallest environmental footprint of all forms of power generation.

I always keep teeling this the people of Prypjat, Futaba and Okuma... somehow they seem not to care, I wonder why that is...

Have you been there? Im sure those people didnt take it nice when you told them "hey not many of you died, you only lost your houses and everything you have, and now are condemned to live fearing an invisible thing that kills you slowly".
I dont want to sound judgmental but if you just looked at the victims numbers and went "Oh theyre not much, its ok then" then youre obviously going to fail at convincing people that nuclear power is the best solution for the future. (Which i think is true btw).

He was being facetious, and saying those people don't care how safe you say nuclear power is because they've been affected.

It also becomes a problem when you claim nuclear power is "the REAL and only practical solution" within an article thats shows how reasonable is to use the sun energy.

If by "How reasonable it is to use the sun's energy", you mean the article proved "Not at all"... I fail to see your point.

Ye, at 2 panels/sq meter that's only 1 trillion panels needed. Yep 994 billion to be exact. Piece of cake.

As long as it's not fossil fuel power generation, we have nowhere to go but up.

Just don't put them on the fucking roads.

AndreiCC:
Ye, at 2 panels/sq meter that's only 1 trillion panels needed. Yep 994 billion to be exact. Piece of cake.

That's... a lot fewer than I expected. Heck, that even looks doable. O__O

Callate:
Ideally, I think a combination of solar, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, and nuclear power; the most important factor being the vast reduction of the use of coal and petroleum. Solar and wind should definitely provide more of our power than they do, and the fact that the U.S. still gets about half of its power from coal is pretty deplorable. (Unsurprising, given how important coal mining is to several states, but still horrible; we can and should do better.)

Ideally yes, but there are only a couple things that are really true about humanity as a whole it's that we won't ever do anything about a problem until it's so big we can't ignore it anymore. We won't bother to find an alternate fuel source that actually works until we've run pretty much completely out of oil, and we won't really start using solar or wind or nuclear power or anything like that until we've run out of coal. However, fortunately the OTHER thing that is true about most all of humanity is that when we get off our collective butts and actually tackle a problem we solve it in no time flat. If we did run out of coal we'd find the best energy source to use and have a working plan of what to do with it within a week or two, give it a few months tops before we implemented and succeeded with that plan.

what I find most upsetting is that there are countries that have special taxes for people who use solar power and try to live off the grid. If someone knows why is this reasonable ,could you explain to me please?.

I'm a big fan of increasing decentralized power generation. Power transportation on the grid is not especially efficient, when it has problems it shuts down whole regions at a time, and the individual homeowner ends up more or less at the mercy of the combination of government and private industry bureaucrats. Any long time Californians here know exactly what I'm talking about...

Made in China:
What happens during an eclipse? If it's cloudy? If the solar panels get dirty or damaged due natural disasters (assuming they're properly maintained)? More commonly, what happens during the night?

Tesla Powerwall, just for starters.

wulfy42:
We have solar panels for instance, but, the energy from them does not go into our house, but instead into the grid, you only get the effect of they energy from your panel at the lowest rate, so any power you do use over what the panels generate can often cost more (if you go into a higher tier of energy usage, even if it's only during a short period). Power outages still affect you, and you don't gain any money/credit for additional energy that goes into the grid that you don't use.

You got a remarkably terrible deal on that setup.

EDIT:

gact:
what I find most upsetting is that there are countries that have special taxes for people who use solar power and try to live off the grid. If someone knows why is this reasonable ,could you explain to me please?.

Actually, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to have an "insurance" fee for people who only use the grid for emergencies. Maintaining the grid is expensive over and above the power itself, and even in the optimistic future where people generally aren't using the grid, it's sure nice to have it when you need it.

gact:
what I find most upsetting is that there are countries that have special taxes for people who use solar power and try to live off the grid. If someone knows why is this reasonable ,could you explain to me please?.

Can't speak for those places specifically, but here in Quebec we can't get money given to us for energy pumped into the grid if we are independent as a result of our energy provider being Hydro Quebec, a crown corporation, has a monopoly on power (we have the cheapest power in North America, paying 25% of our neighbours in Ontario and 10% of those in New York, both of which are places we export a lot of power to).

But the sun isn't finite and you can't control it as a source; it hits the surface evenly like a gigantic Lenin eyeball glowering down in the sky! D:

I wonder if they've done any modeling as to the local environmental impact such giant reflective surface areas would have. They would definitely cause a difference in the local ambient heat cycle because more light would be reflected back from the panels than the comparatively matte ground, and given each suggested area is so huge, I can't help but imagine that could have an impact on local weather patterns.

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