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Can Solar Panels Completely Power The US ?

The promise of unlimited and clean energy provided by solar power, has so far been a distant dream. A paper submitted by David Mills (Chairman and chief scientific officer of solar company Ausra) to the International Solar Energy Society conference claims that solar thermal plants could solve all the energy shortages faced by America.

Snip from the article.

Solar thermal plants like the ones being developed by Ausra use rows of mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on tubes of liquid – water in Ausra’s case – to create steam that drives an electricity-generating turbine. The solar farms would store energy in tanks of liquid that would release the heat for nighttime operation or when clouds pass over. Mills and co-author Robert Morgan calculated that a 92-mile by 92-mile solar farm in the desert southwest could power the entire country. Analyzing electricity demand data from California and Texas, they figured that solar power plants with 16 hours of energy storage capacity could supply 92 percent of those states’ power at about 8 cents a kilowatt hour – roughly the current cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

The U.S. has always been one of the more “power hungry” nations of the world. Is this the silver bullet for the energy crisis looming in the horizon ?

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