Author : Arunima
Is it Possible to Power the Entire World with just Solar Energy
Solar energy, one of the most discussed topic amongst the environmentalist, to create awareness in the society about its benefits. It would be such a great place to live in if all the people in the world use solar power to run their household appliances. Known to all as one of the most abundant resources, its one of the most promising as well as non perishable source of energy. Big brands like Google, Apple and other multi-million companies have already started invested in it. According to report in 2017, Google is found to be 100% powered by just solar and wind. California also passed a legal mandate requiring all new homes to install solar panels in last year. Giant companies who are strongly funded can easily opt to install solar lights but do you think any normal person would afford to do so? Although the benefits of using solar power are many, its cost and expensive installation process prevents many of them to back out. So, is it realistic to depend completely on solar energy and live our life based on it? Based on a calculation by finder.com, this doesnt look as easy as it seems. The research was covered CIA World Factbook in 147 countries in the world (as some countries did not have any data) by calculating how much sun energy each country gets by averaging the total yearly values from OpenSolarDB. Then they took the efficiency and performance ratios of the average solar panel“ 15% and 0.75 respectively, to sum up how much electricity, natural gas and refined petroleum products each country uses. It came to a conclusion where it found that only 87% of the countries can be powered entirely by the sun, using less than 5% of their land. Now which countries have more chances of being powered by Solar? The need of each country depends on the population density of the country and the amount of energy they use. For example, country like Canada which is the second largest in the world has a very low count on population. If almost 80% of the lands of Canada is uninhibited, it can power itself with solar by using only 0.3 % of its land covered by panels. So, in this case it seems quite possible. Even the whole of USA can be powered by using 1.4 % of its land i.e., the size of Mississippi State. Developing nations with low population density, low electricity usage and high levels of sunlight are the ones that have the most chances of covering themselves by solar. African continents like Botswana, Malawi and Liberia can be fully powered by solar if they are backed by proper financial support and infrastructure, making solar power a cheaper and renewable alternative. The answer to our question lies on what type of country we live in. If it is a small developed country with dense population than, probably we will have to spare more land to install solar panels to meet the demands of every citizen. According to UN, Singapore (830%), Bahrain (156%) and Hong Kong (213%) are the densely populated states who needs more land to build solar panels. Basically, every country has to start taking measures to increase the use of solar energy. Countries like China and Japan who are the largest producer of solar panels are also the most populated ones in the world. Actually, China has already exceeded its 2020 target for solar panel installations too! And if we have to power the entire world we need enough solar panels to cover the size of South Africa to meet the demands.