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

Dirk Bruere dirk.bruere at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 21:51:29 UTC 2005

On 10/26/05, Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
> 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.
So, by halving US military spending the US could build the equivalent of 250
major power stations every 5 yrs.
Now, what is it that proponents of nuclear power want?

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