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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thought experiment: replacing gas with solar power

No, not rooftop panels for your Prius, but using a lot of solar panels to make electricity to drive electric cars. Robert Rapier's analysis tries to uncover how much solar it would take to supplant gasoline (if we had the battery technology to drive on electricity only - we may, actually - the GM EV-1 got 75-150 miles per charge, more than enough to commute on).

How much land area do we need for PV panels? 36 x 36 miles.

How much would 444,000 MW of solar PV cost? $1.8 billion
(if you believe the price Southern California Edison is forecasting for their upcoming solar project). Even at double the cost, that's less than 0.1% of the federal budget.

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