[p2p-research] Picture of Solar Area to power the world

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Tue Aug 25 14:54:50 CEST 2009

Eric Hunting wrote to the Open Manufacturing list:
> Interesting picture. Have others seen this?
> http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequired1000.jpg

 From there:
"Surface area required to power the world with zero carbon emissons and with 
solar panels alone. ... The large square is the Saharan Desert (1/4 of the 
overall 2030 required area) would power all of Europe and North Africa. 
Though very large, it is still 18 times less than the total area of that 

It looks about right to me. :-) And that's probably with solar panels of 10% 
efficiency (the kind in production). With 40% efficient solar panels, the 
land use would shrink by a factor of four (or two times in each direction).

I'd be curious to see such a map of land currently devoted to fossil fuel 
extraction and consumption in power plants. I'd expect it would be roughly 
the same in overall area, maybe larger. The same for land use devoted to 
road use. Or land use devoted to cities.

Note that as they say on that picture; "The 19 contiguous areas show what 
would be a reasonable responsibility for various parts of the world. They 
would be further divide many times..."

So, that picture is to give you a sense of scale, but people might put 
panels on rooftops or over parking lots in order to have more local energy 
security or lower energy transmission costs. So, we might never have big 
sites like those, but if we did, those look like good places to put them.

I found interesting the note on the front page of that Land Art Generator 
site: "Art has the ability to create movements and stimulate creative 
dialogue. The artist community has long taken a critical approach to the 
problems of energy use and production, which has helped to open the public 
eye to the severity of the problems facing us. The time is now for artists 
to go further and take an  active role in solving the problem through their 
own work."

So, all part of "Blessed Unrest" that peer production takes part in:

--Paul Fernhout

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