Solar Power News and Numbers

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Nice to see this small grassroots level solar project in Madison, Wisconsin: a 1.4 MW rooftop solar system announced.

Also in Wisconsin, there are hearings underway inconsideration of a 300 MW solar farm covering 2,500 acres. In Wisconsin, summer capacity is 16,967 MW. Wisconsin has 54,314 square miles of land, and 2,500 acres is just under 4 square miles. Wisconsin could meet its summer capacity needs by producing 0.31 MW per square mile. The proposed plant will run at 75 MW per square mile. Wisconsin could produce all of its summer capacity (ignoring time of day and storage issues of course) with about 227 square miles of solar panel, which would be less than a half of a percent of the state’s land area. If my calculations are right.

Let’s say we quadruple our electricity needs mainly because we electrify everything. That means that Wisconsin could probably make all the electricity it needs by covering about 1,000 square miles with solar panels, which would be about half the land area of the physically largest 100 cities in the state. So, go figure that out.

Across large parts of the midwest, the “Midwest Solarize Programs” have helped just under 500 residential homes get a total of 3.8 MW rooftop capacity in 2018.

There is a solar plant under review in Michigan that will rate at 239 MW on 1,245 acres. That’s a much higher rate of production compared to the above cited Wisconsin plant, because the panels will track the sun. (This tells us that the largest 100 Wisconsin cities can get back some of their land if they use this technology).

A recent survey shows that one in nine Americans are considering buying an electric vehicle. That’s not bad, but not good enough. But once the ball gets rolling….

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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One thought on “Solar Power News and Numbers

  1. There is lots going on next door to me in Alberta. Recent large scale solar plants are producing it for $0.037/kWh. and wind power is going strong there too. The first contracts awarded by the (somewhat socialist – not really but definitely when compared to the previous Conservative governments) NDP government are for 600 MW but they have plans for >4 GW. The NDP are eager to get AB off of coal. Still they are the source of the tar sands so this ain’t going to redeem that dark smirch.

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