[extropy-chat] Solar math (was: Nuke 'em)

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Wed Oct 26 21:43:33 UTC 2005

On Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 09:17:26PM +0100, Dirk Bruere wrote:

>    Depends what 'cheap' means.
>    Given our present 'uneconomic' PV tech, how much would five years
>    worth of half the US military budget buy (say, round about $1t)?
>    Dirk

Last I saw, which was a few years ago, solar was $4/watt, vs. $1/watt for
conventional power plants, lasting 30 years.  So, 250 gigawatts.  Keep on
spending for 30 years and you'd buy 1.5 terawatts, half of what the US needs
in terms of total energy.  OTOH, providing heating through PV electricity is
definitely the expensive way of doing it.  Also, my estimate is that the US
spends at least $250 billion a year on electricity, so this model is actually
underspending.  If we accepted spending twice as much as we do now then it all
works out.  If solar has gotten cheaper then all the better.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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