TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

'Solar uses too much space' two-word response.... golf courses....

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by nwdiver, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,402
    Location:
    United States
    There are plenty of maps showing how little area is really needed to power the world... here's another way to REALLY drive the point home to 'skeptics'. The 3500sq miles that we use for golf courses in the US could host 1TW of solar PV. On average that >1500TWh/yr. With good tracking and solar exposure that's easily >2000TWh. The US uses ~4000TWh/yr.

    So.... we could satisfy ~50% of our electricity needs with solar PV just by devoting as much empty space to solar as we currently do for golf courses.
     
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,502
    Location:
    Maine
    #2 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Jul 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
    One word response: sprawl. There's loads of space in this country Maybe if more were covered less would be wasted creating mockeries of nature..

    Funny you say golf courses, because people think of them as wasted, but I'd expect that there's more space given over to lawn that's mowed but never used. You know, those large ones people have, that, somewhat like golf courses, they only drive around on.
     
  3. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,402
    Location:
    United States
    The amount of area we need amounts to a rounding error... plenty of nature left to enjoy; Most if not all of that area could be road sides and medians which don't provide much natural solitude to begin with :wink:
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,502
    Location:
    Maine
    People have talked about roadsides, but you don't want to do medians, because, well, they're in the middle of roads and besides the difficulty of access, that's where the hyperloops will go.
     
  5. BrianC

    BrianC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    United States
    What do all of you think about new houses / houses for sale needing a smaller grid tied system (like four or five panels). It would quickly make most houses with them on the property pumping out juice at not a huge cost since so many would be getting produced the costs would drop.
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,754
    Location:
    Texas
    Most solar should go on buildings, whether new or existing. No additional space is required. That would account for about 40% of existing household energy use. As better solar technology and better insulation programs are available, the amount of non-local power could decrease dramatically.
     
  7. BoerumHill

    BoerumHill Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Or parking lots. There's a little company in New Jersey called Solaire Generation that covers up parking lots; the open parking lot space becomes a shaded carport while feeding the grid. Not sure how much traction (& funding) they have but they just expanded to San Diego.
     
  8. cpa

    cpa Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    939
    Location:
    Central Valley
    There are tens of thousands of flat-roofed buildings scattered all over the country. Warehouses and manufacturing plants come to mind. Airports have lots of wasted land away from the runways and taxi roads that comprises the hangar areas and customs areas for imported goods arriving by air. Buildings of several stories could have solar panels on all four sides. And don't forget the old drive-in movie locations that are now used for swap meets. I bet the land owner could receive a better rent check from a solar electricity generation installation that from the owner of the swap meet.
     
  9. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    485
    Location:
    Bangor, ME
    Nuclear plant exclusion zones. They could nearly double the daytime output of a single-reactor plant.
     
  10. manis

    manis Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I doubt that company was involved, but we have carports with solar panels where I work. They are awesome! I just wish there were more of them.
     
  11. 3mp_kwh

    3mp_kwh Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    822
    Location:
    Boston
    Versus 3500 square miles, I think Musk uses a variation on 10,000 sq mi, to arrive at his "blue square" analogy. Same conclusion, just not "50%". 100 X 100 miles of solar can replace 4,000 twh of U.S. consumption.

    Here's comes the wet blanket. Good luck displacing the EPA's plan to allow 30% coal and 30% natural gas fired electricity, all the way through 2030. Good luck replacing NY's Indian Point, with about 30,000 acres of reclaimed golf courses, just to break-even on CO2. Batteries? 500Kv lines crossing 1000's miles?

    What is the most politically viable way to mitigate 2,000 million tons of annual U.S. electric sector CO2? Lots of ways to slice it, including dreams.
     
  12. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    592
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    :)
    funny, but probably not. Some interstates have 500 m radius turns. At 700 mph, that's like 20g's.
    If your upper limit is 0.5g (which seems like rather a lot to me), and you stick to 1000 m radius'ed freeways, you'd only be able to go 160 mph or so.
     
  13. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    485
    Location:
    Bangor, ME
    Most politically viable? Economics. It's hard for a coal plant to compete against 3 cent wind, and 5 cent solar. In areas where utilities cannot own generation, they're going to buy from the cheapest sources whenever possible. As more wind and solar is installed, the cheapest power won't be coal and often won't be gas.
     
  14. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,402
    Location:
    United States
    Yes.... this post is in the same spirit as what Musk said... just a slightly different form.... you don't always have a map handy for your elevator speech and people can have a hard time visualizing a 100mile x 100 mile square; I was waiting with some contractors at work discussing energy and they were all convinced that solar required too much area to be viable... I wish I had thought of this analogy then... The ignorance of solar even among educated people is absolutely astounding; The plant where I works sits on 1 sq mile... we use ~300MWh/day; We had a meeting to discuss on-site energy alternatives and our facilities manager actually said, 'We'd have to cover the entire site to even make a dent'...... A 1 square mile solar farm would generate more energy between 11 and noon than our entire facility uses in a day.....

    This isn't China... the Free Market is still largely in control. As Bangor Bob mentioned... economics will have the last say.
     
  15. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,978
    Location:
    SK
    I went to a talk a couple made about a month ago about the passive home they built. They don't have solar yet, but they built it with that capability in mind. One of the design aspects was they changed the angle of the roof. Houses conventionally have the peak running down the centre of the house. If you moved the peak further back, northwards, you'd get more surface area for solar panels. It's such and easy idea, I was surprised I never thought of it myself.
     
  16. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,271
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I live in rowhouse land in Philadelphia and almost everyone has a flat roof, certainly all the new houses do. My simple comment to people is that covering their roof in reasonably priced solar panels(not anything high-end) will likely net out all of their usage.
     

Share This Page