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Solar Energy Power

Wesley Said:

do you think we could generate enough solar energy to power the world?

We Answered:

If you work out the solar irradiation per square meter, you'll find that there is more than sufficient energy reaching the Earth... the problem is finding an efficient, cheap way to harvest and store it. The other issue is polar regions that might undergo months at a time of darkness.

On a not totally unrelated topic: There's enough harvestable wind energy to power the world six times over. At the moment though, wind turbines convert about 14% of the total energy in the wind flowing through them. Compare this to coal-fired power stations, which operate at about 30% efficiency: Until coal becomes too expensive to use for fuel, governments will refuse to implement wind and solar on a wide scale. (Though taking into account the environmental cost and long-term payback of renewable sources, they're worth it now!)

Lynn Said:

How can apartment renters economically harness the power of solar energy?

We Answered:

If you have south facing windows, assuming you live in the northern hemisphere, add passive solar to a room by putting down plastic over the carpet and put down a cheap dark colored tile to act as a passive solar heat collector. This is not against most leases (yet). Be sure to use thin tiles if your apartment isn't on the ground level, as it could add to much weight to the structure. If you are on the ground level go for thicker to increase your thermal mass. Open the windows of that room when the sun will shine on your floor **** most important **** close those windows when the sun goes and insulate with a slip in panel of structural foam, 2 inches thick would work great.

There are also a lot of small portable PV systems available,
Try this site to get some ideas and get started;

Good luck... and don't give up!

Discuss It!

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