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  • freemarket235 freemarket235 Sep 19, 2009 7:56 PM Flag

    Nulear vs. Solar Land Requirements

    I guessimate that a solar power plant
    (photovoltaic) would require over 17 square
    miles of land in order to produce the same
    amount of energy as a 1 Gig (1 GW) nuke or
    coal plant. Here are my calculations:

    The average amount of solar power that hits
    the earth on a sunny, cloudless day is 1.353
    kW per square meter. Since it is not
    practical to keep the collectors exactly
    perpendicular to the incoming rays during the
    whole day, let's be generous and say that
    every square meter of collector gets hit with
    1 KW for eight hours per day, seven days per
    week, 52 weeks per year.

    Now, assume that the collectors are 20%
    efficient which is also very generous. So,
    the collectors produce 200 watts per square
    meter for 8 hours per day. That amount of
    energy is the same as 67 watts for 24 hours.

    Therefore, it would take 15 million square
    meters of collectors in order to produce
    the same energy as a 1 GW nuke plant.

    Now, multiply that number by three in order
    to make room for all the access roads
    required to clean and maintain the
    collectors and you get 45 million square
    meters of land.

    Since one square mile equals 2.6 million
    square meters, 45 million square
    meters of land equals 17.3 square miles.


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    • Solar will be/is part of the energy providers long term, as is nuclear. Large scale solar or wind does have environmental impact as well. A couple of major problems with solar and wind is that it is not always available on demnad. Of course we know solar i only available in the day, but on cloudy days it is weak as well. Apparently large scale solar is so subject to variation in output that management of the grid becomes a problem. On a small scale on and off solar contirbutions are not significant, but on large scale the present grid apparently cant handle the fluctuations.

      • 1 Reply to manylumen
      • Yep, management of the gird....Smart Grid, IOW, but we ain't getting any for at least 10 years according to Chu. NIMBY could make this even longer.

        As for China and the Europeans, they have places where the wind doesn't blow or the sun isn't out. Effeciency of this stuff is what?
        How many installations are out at one time?

        Geo and nuclear are there all the time rain, shine, calm.

        Solar panels and wind require lots of strategic metals (small quanities per unit, but you have to have large arrays to generate anything meaningful) which do not just appear magically.

    • What people cant seem to understand is the magnitude of the problem we face when it comes to energy supply/demand, and growth in demand. If you have a listen to a couple of lectures on the web site mitworld distributed intelligence by both Dr. Nocera and Dr. S. Koonin it puts the problem into perspective. one that has more focus on electrification challenges is "The role of new technologies in a sustainable energy economy" The predicted growth in world wide demand is astounding an does not look like it can be met on the long term with out significant new discoveries.

    • greetings! again? OK:):)
      PG&E is installing a 500mw solar thermal plant on 1.09 square miles.
      it will run for 100 years, has little security costs, and has zero emissions or waste.. it's cheap.

      "The ability to utilize solar thermal technology after the sun sets is made possible by a storage system that is up to 93% efficient, according to Ausra’s executive vice president John O’Donnell.
      High efficiency is achieved because solar thermal plants do not need to convert energy to another form in order to store it and do not rely on battery technology. Flat moving recflectors or parabolic mirrors focus solar energy to generate heat. This heat generates steam that turns turbines, thus generating an electric current.
      If you want to generate electricity-at, say, 3 am-heat from the sun can be stored for later use. This gives solar thermal technology the ability to not just produce peak power, but also generate base load electricity."

      (btw imo the green thing is not a function of special interests or lobbyists. fwiw china is leading the world in wind and solar, whereas over here utes themselves are out-lobbying the enviro advocates $3:1....

      do u all see this bull run continuing or ending? it looked toppy on friday. I hope to be out of all non pm-longs by next week. out of pms a little later. do u all think PMs are gonna be the next bubble or just have a run to 1200 gold, then fall apart in may?
      gl freemarket man, and everyone!

      • 3 Replies to sthbnkrd
      • "The ability to utilize solar thermal technology after the sun sets is made possible by a storage system that is up to 93% efficient,"

        Oh, Really? Does it turn lead into gold, also? Gee, I wish, I had a 93% heat storage unit after 10 hours. And the days of little or reduced sun? And how effecient is this heat storage device in actaul engineering application? Good luck.

        OBW the reflector are self cleaning aren't they?

        Why are utes out lobbying envirnomentalists? They what uncle sap to pick up the costs! Especially if the cap and trade tax comes in.

      • <<<<do u all see this bull run continuing or ending? it looked toppy on friday>>>>

        ---<g>, Lol... Are you BS'ing me? Don;t you see the S&P500 "bear wedge" this market's climbing? Don't you see the "topping signals" repeating themselves over & over again, people buying the **bear ETF's** and having their asses handed to them over & over again?

        Wake up! This run's not over!! Suck-it-up, stand proud & make money as a long!


      • "PG&E is installing a 500mw solar thermal
        plant on 1.09 square miles."

        sth -- I was expecting you. :)
        Have you noticed that these solar plants
        NEVER mention their energy output?

        Here is another number that may shock you.

        "How much energy from the sun reaches the
        surface of the Earth on Average?

        Average over the entire earth = 164 Watts per
        square meter over a 24 hour day."

        Now, when you consider the 10% efficiency
        of solar cells, you only get 16 watts per
        square meter over a 24 hour day.

        I am still waiting for the U stampede. My
        account needs a 50% increase just to break
        even for the last two years.

    • <<<<Now, assume that the collectors are 20%
      efficient which is also very generous. So,
      the collectors produce 200 watts per square
      meter for 8 hours per day>>>>

      ----You are OVERLY OUTRAGIOUSLY generous to a fault! Where in the U.S. do we get 8hrs of continous sunshine in a day? Ans. is very few places, IMO. Anyway your point is well taken BUT you fail to recognize this is a POLITICAL answer to the energy problem, & not a practical one.

      ---Think politics, think solar, think green, think small, think insulation, think geothermal, think wind power, think politics!

      smoot (buy "XIDE")

    • No, no, no, you don't get it. All those ants out there installing solar why it just puts all those unemployed worker back to work. It's like the modern Hoover Dam! Green Jobs!
      The ANSWER! That's why we needed visionaries like Van Jones even though he had slightly more problems than the Sec of the Treasury.

      Gad, we will never get green jobs going if you keep bring up nuclear. Please go away.

      • 1 Reply to project1947
      • Here are a few more numbers that I hope
        will shock the public.

        "A 1,000-MW solar conversion plant, for
        example – the same size as I've been using
        for the comparisons of coal and nuclear –
        would cover 50 to 100 square miles with
        35,000 tons of aluminum, two million tons of
        concrete, 7,500 tons of copper, 600,000 tons
        of steel, 75,000 tons of glass, and 1,500
        tons of other metals such as chromium and
        titanium – a thousand times the material
        needed to construct a nuclear plant of the
        same capacity. These materials are not cheap,
        and real estate doesn't come for nothing.
        Moreover, these materials are all products of
        heavy, energy-hungry industries in their own
        right that produce large amounts of waste,
        much of it toxic. So much for "free" and
        "clean" solar power."

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