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  • Rise

  • and

  • shine!

  • Get up and seize the day!

  • You can do anything under the Sun...

  • when the Sun powers everything.

  • Your phone,

  • your home,

  • and all that's in between.

  • This is life on the golden grid.

  • But is it the utopia we thought it would be?

  • In 2018, the state of California

  • passed a law requiring all new houses

  • to be built with solar panels after 2020.

  • Now you might think this sounds

  • both extreme and unfair,

  • considering it will raise home prices

  • by as much as $12,000.

  • But it's a lot more sensible than you think.

  • For one, families will actually

  • be making money off their new homes

  • by saving roughly $19,000 over 30 years.

  • And in the meantime, California will be

  • generating 74% of its electricity from the Sun.

  • Sadly, not every place in the world

  • is like sunny California.

  • Actually, on the world stage, California's solar initiative is hardly impressive.

  • In Australia, for example, roughly 15% of homes

  • are already equipped with solar panels.

  • And in Belgium, it's about 7% of homes.

  • But in the U.S., only 0.5% of homes currently have solar panels on them.

  • Of course, it could be a lot more.

  • Like, a lot more.

  • There are just over 8 billion sq.m. (86.1 billion sq.ft.)

  • of suitable roof space in the U.S., that,

  • with solar panels, could produce 1,400 terawatt hours of electricity each year.

  • That's 40% of the current energy production in the U.S.

  • Of course, we'd have to work out a few things first.

  • It's one thing to require all homes to have solar panels,

  • but to ensure everyone gets reliable power when they need it is not so easy.

  • For example, some countries don't get as much sun as others do,

  • or they simply have fewer people,

  • or they have lower energy needs,

  • making it unfeasible for them to rely only on solar power.

  • Think of it this way.

  • We said earlier that if every home in California

  • was equipped with solar panels,

  • the state could generate about three quarters of its energy from solar power.

  • But following the same initiative,

  • a state like Wyoming, for example,

  • would only be able to get about 14% of its energy from solar power.

  • So the success of this kind of program

  • really depends on managing people's expectations

  • based on the energy needs of a given region,

  • the amount of sunlight that a region receives,

  • and the population density within its borders.

  • Places that are unable to go full-on solar,

  • would be encouraged to rely on other renewables suitable for their climates.

  • The jump in global demand for solar panels

  • would create millions of new jobs and businesses.

  • To build all these new solar panels,

  • we'd have to up our silicon and silver extraction,

  • which would be great news for China,

  • since they're the world's leading silicon producer!

  • And the world's second biggest silver producer.

  • We would need engineers to come up with effective ways to prevent power surges.

  • Also known as "solar spills," they occur when too much energy is generated

  • during off-peak hours, like during the day,

  • when sunlight is greatest and demand is lowest.

  • This overwhelms the grid, and can trigger blackouts or frequency issues.

  • The challenge for our engineers, then, is to come up with ways

  • to divert and store the excess energy that is produced,

  • and then recall it when it's needed.

  • Solar batteries are a possible solution, although a very expensive one.

  • But with any luck, the high demand would reduce the costs associated with going solar.

  • In any event, after installation,

  • people would break even on their solar technology within 5 to 10 years,

  • and would then save significantly on future utility bills...

  • while also saving the future itself.

  • So if this is what you see today,

  • what might you see tomorrow?

  • Make hay while the Sun shines,

  • show a friend the future we could have,

  • and for more bright ideas, keep watching 'What If.'

Rise

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もし、すべての家がソーラーパネルで覆われていたら? (What If All Houses Were Covered With Solar Panels?)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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