What Would It Take To Power The United States With Solar Energy?

We calculated the land area needed to supply the entire United States with solar power.
Written and Produced by Gabriel Reilich
Graphics by Jake Infusino
Music: Redwood – NYM

With http://solarcity.com
Sources:
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56290.pdf
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

19 thoughts on “What Would It Take To Power The United States With Solar Energy?”

  1. Now if we scale this up to making the entire world 100% solar efficient, somebody said we'd need a piece of land roughly the size of Spain covered in solar panels. Don't quote me on this, but at least I THINK that is right, and the fact that we are not looking into this saddens me. 🙁

  2. Asterisk asterisk asterisk!
    Without also taking into account power transmission losses and energy storage since peak power usage is literally any time that solar panels aren't making power. And you need to triple that to even store power in the batteries in the first place. Plus the cost of solar panels at, I believe, currently $1.00 per watt capability (or around $15 per square foot). Notice that word "capability"; it's not the real output, just the potential.

  3. Really, no, this is not good you complete moron, they are not that efficient and that map assumes 100% efficiency, they have 40% efficiency and would cost more to run than nuclear power, not including the fact that solar power generally pollutes the atmosphere and land worse than nuclear power does, in the process of making solar panels more waste is produced than nuclear wastes. Solar power is costly, not efficient and ecologically idiotic.

  4. yep….FACTS…….let's do this……much love Tee with LIONS NAMED LEO …AND BTW…. I have plans for a solar gravity tower motor that could power every house hold……investors call me at 661 326 1604

  5. Does this include inefficient solar cells? Or is this if solar cells were 100% efficient. Minor point, but as an engineer, who knows lawyers and thieves, I'd feel better if the type solar cells, and their efficiency were mentioned. Leaving out those details, which would require 5 more seconds of video, is curious.

  6. the problem with solar power is that we don't have any efficient way of the storing the energy.

  7. OK so how much wire is that going to take? And can electricity do everything that oil can? And is it always sunny? And what do we do when it is NOT sunny? Fact is we need ALL forms of energy! Optimize each one and move forward, choosing the best energy to suit the need!

    When I want to power my garden gnomes, I choose SOLAR!

    When I want to fly to Mexico, I choose FOSSIL FUELS!

    When I want to kill 100's of 1,000's of birds and bats in the name of an intermittent and costly energy source that is triple the cost, I choose WIND!!!

  8. One thing so many people neglect, is the benefits behind actual energy independence. So much global conflict involving the US is fueled by the need to find, acquire, and protect energy resources. Being energy self sufficient would also open the gateways to greater self sustainability when it comes to food resource management. Imagine a United States that did not need to bargain with the world, including those who would be our enemies if not for the mutual benefit of acquiring oil (Looking at you House of Saud/Saudi Arabia, though you are not alone!), the US could be freed from some of its worse international "partnerships." I am not an isolationists, but most powerful empires collapsed due to being unable to sustain themselves, leading to virtually endless war & insurmountable debt. Renewable wind, solar, and wave would open the door to a far better future for this country, and limit the corrosive power of the "necessary evils" inherent to many corporations.

  9. yea this would be great if we had the approx. 70 trillion dollars it would cost to supply the solar panels to cover that much land

  10. how big is 11,200,000 acres? 17500.00mi² or 45324.79km². That is bigger than any one of the smallest 9 US states.
    Here are those states (in mi²)
    Maryland – 9,774
    Vermont – 9,250
    New Hampshire – 8,968
    Massachusetts – 7,840
    New Jersey – 7,417
    Hawaii – 6,423
    Connecticut – 4,845
    Delaware – 1,954
    Rhode Island – 1,045

  11. So who is against clean air? Who is against energy independence? Who is against local jobs? Solar Power offers all of that. And we won't run out of it.

  12. and you cannot store the power efficiently and most power consumption is at night…. but best of luck. im sure this will work out flawlessly.

  13. People have to realize that yes, this is a VERY simplistic view on changing EVERYTHING. No, it won't happen overnight. No, we probably won't achieve 100% purely through solar power. Yes, it would take increases in technology that we don't have YET (better transmission methods, more efficient storage methods etc). BUT, we need to start to take all of this seriously – THAT is the first step. You don't go from <1% to 50%+ capability overnight – and without increase in knowledge during the pursuit. You start by putting government and business leaders in a room and discussing what it would take to START.

  14. The solution has to incorporate small scale residential hybrid systems. Using wind/VAWT, and a combination of passive and active solar design and tech on every home, building and structure. This approach would provide power while eliminating the critical challenges upgrading infrastructure to support distribution of power. It's not clunky anymore- Check out the OMNIFLOW tech, or basic Trombe wall methods utilized in EARTHSHIP design.

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