By Dave Jarvis
The United States has spent billions on the Iraq War. Think about this:
That money could buy over 2.1 billion solar panels. Now consider:
That money could have paid for 27% of the United States' yearly electric bill.
Use the following form to estimate how much of the U.S. electrical needs could be met if funds spent on other things (like war) were invested in solar power. Here's what you need to know to use the calculator:
Cloudy days, and indirect sunlight (i.e., sunrise and sunset) would reduce the actual amount of power generated. Conversely, new solar panel technology claims 40% efficiency compared with the 17% to 22% claimed by the solar panels reviewed for this text.
In 2004 there was 62.4 billion ft2 space available for roof-top solar panels, which is sufficient for the needs discussed.
The production and installation costs would reduce the actual number of solar panels that could be purchased; yet the price solar panels would plummet if manufactured in the millions.
Decentralised electric power has other benefits:
As an indirect consequence, the mass production of on-grid solar panels would:
Solar Panel Prices
Prices for 180W Photovoltaic (PV) cells on January 14, 2011:
Prices for Photovoltaic (PV) cells on July 6, 2008:
Prices for Photovoltaic (PV) cells on July 9, 2007: