The great potential of solar power! In just one hour, the earth receives more energy from the sun than the entire world uses during a whole year. Tap into that resource with enough efficiency and the world’s energy problem would be solved.
In fact, solar power is already online or under construction in several countries across the globe.
For example, Germany is the world leader in solar energy and currently are building power stations all across the country, embracing the technology and manufacturing of solar panels.
In 2010, Germany produced 17 GW of power by solar energy. GW is a term for GigaWatts or 1,000 MegaWatts of power. By the year 2030, Germany will produce 66 GW of power by solar energy. For comparison, ALL of Japan’s nuclear reactors produce 47.5 GW of power.
How well a solar panel converts sunlight into electricity is measured by efficiency. Most of the manufactured photovoltaic panels produced today have an efficiency of 12 to 16 percent. But the efficiency of the panels will only improve with technical advancements.
Spire Semiconductor recently set a new world record for solar cell efficiency. The company produced a triple-junction cell with 42.3 per cent conversion efficiency. This is 3 times what the current manufactured solar voltaic panels produce. That would make a 10 MW plant increase to a 30 MW plant just by the efficiency increase alone!
Meanwhile, in the United States a recent report by the non-profit Co-Op America finds that solar power’s contribution could grow to 10% of the United States power needs by 2025.
The United States has very large offshore wind energy resources due to strong, consistent winds off the long U.S. coastline. Offshore wind energy is a clean, domestic, renewable resource that can assist the U.S. in meeting energy, environmental, and economic challenges.
On February 11, 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released the first comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state since 1993, showing that the contiguous United States has potential to install 10,459 GW of onshore wind power. The capacity could generate 37 petawatt-hours (PW·h) annually, an amount nine times larger than current total U.S. electricity consumption.
Current United States Energy Usage
As you can see in the picture below, nuclear energy creates just 9 percent of the generated electric in the United States. So the question that I put forth… Why is there a push for “Carbon Free” Nuclear Energy?
In February, the Obama administration gave a 8.5 billion dollar loan guarantee for construction of 2 new reactors in Burke, Georgia. Even with the disaster unfolding in Fukushima Japan, the Obama administration is still pushing ahead with nuclear power.
Now the Obama administration has called on Congress to approve $54 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for nuclear energy. Perhaps to ease the public’s anxiety about nuclear power, they are also demanding a “Safety Review” of the nuclear plants already in operation.
Safety Review?? I’m sure that the Fukushima nuclear plant had safety reviews as well.
There was an excellent opportunity to shift away from nuclear power and develop enough solar and wind power to make up the difference. Nobody has to worry about radioactive Iodine or Cesium with a solar panel array. Radioactive waste storage for thousands of years is not in the picture with wind turbines.
But it will take a real political leader, a leader with insight and a vision of the future. This could be a future without exclusionary zones or food sources contaminated with radiation.
Do not let the current “Carbon Free” deceptive campaign to bring back Nuclear power persuade you. We DO NOT need to build any new Nuclear reactors. There is an alternative to Nuclear Power. The facts are there.