Here is a video, a Tedtalk from several years ago that describes a concept that is still valid today, namely how we could power the entire USA using a fraction of the solar resources just from the state of Arizona. The physics behind concentrating the power of the sun combined with modern advances in solar photovoltaic technology will allow a very cost effective clean energy solution.
Concentrated solar pv is a scalabe technology, that when brought together as a system only requires one to be online. This means that unlike a nuclear power plant or even a coal power plant you do not have to wait years ( decades) for the project to be completed before you see the first electron generated. It also means that you do not have to finance it all at once as you would construct a project like this in stages.
When you look at the technology for concentrated solar pv with the space frame construction and pv cells there is no comparison say to coal or nuclear or even natural gas when it comes not just to the visual impact of the power plants but also the environmental destruction left behind. Coal and nuclear mining are both dangerous to humans and destructive to the environment and for natural gas and gasoline the true impact of modern fracking technologies is not yet understood.
Concentrated solar pv only requires that the sun is shining! Arizona is not the only place in the world with such terrific solar resources but it is one where it seems almost unbelievable that we are not making proper use of it. Of course the fossil fuel industry is fighting this concept very hard in most sunny states in the USA and in Arizona so far they seem to be winning. This situation will not last forever and we need to tell our politicians that it is time for real change.
Here is the Tedtalk. As I said it is few years old, but the sun in Arizona is just as strong today and the technology is even cheaper and more efficient. So what are we waiting for? We can right now today start a project to power the USA using only clean energy.
Gordon’s expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.