Previous Next

What would it take to power the entire planet by solar?

Apparently, an area slightly larger than California.

It’s worth considering that this is the estimate when using solar panels alone. Other methods, such as solar towers, would drastically decrease the amount of needed area.

It may also be worth considering that some cities — like the one I live in, for instance — are within 40 miles of 16 different coal-burning power plants. How saturated would we really like our environment to become with exhaust fumes from incinerated fossil fuels?

Then again, I guess since the sun is due to burn out in a few billion years, it’s probably not worth it.

What do you think? Even if we’ve got the space, is solar worth the effort?

Climate Change


About The Author

Jason Wire

Jason Wire graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and spent the year after writing and teaching English in Spain. He's back in the states now, but doesn't know where. Follow him @wirejr.

  • Heidi

    NICE…Thanks for this!  Now if countries could just work together…..

  • Jason

    It appears to be such an easy solution…..yet there is no one with the clout to make it happen…..

  • Ash Menon

    It’s a huge idea to think about, but again, we’re talking about powering the entire world. On a completely emission-free system. 

    Now if only someone could come up with a cost estimation for this, and leverage it out between countries based on ratio of electricity usage.

  • Pat

    As an power engineer, I can say this analysis way oversimplifies reality. Without considering storage (we use power at night too!) and transmission, it is really meaningless exercise.

  • Hayley Crawford

    Alternative energy sources… Why not give it a try?

Glacier National Park Ranger Matt Graves discusses the challenge of climate change and...
How do you refute the argument of someone using "science" to claim global warming isn't a...
Ironic that the world's icebergs are cracking up during the climate change talks in...
Matador's editors share the effects of climate change they've observed on their travels.
Joyce Hanson joins the Human Countdown to send up a wake-up call to the world about...
George Monbiot of the Guardian says East v. West is a false debate.
The ultimate do-it-yourself home mechanic project is finished. Now it's time to ride!
Will you be proactive about your travel impact in the future or like these guys?
A glimpse of what the world of travel could be like in twenty years.
Did you know a world climate change conference has been going on in Bolivia this week?...
A British court rules "Yes," creating potential for some serious--and positive--policy...
Bolivia's Chacaltaya Glacier is dying. By some accounts, it's already dead. Hal Amen...