Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Solar Resource Fundamentals

Figure 1: Comparing finite and renewable planetary energy reserves (Terawatt-years).
Total recoverable reserves are shown for the finite resources. Yearly potential is
shown the environmental for the renewables (source: Perez & Perez, 2009a)

We have, on this planet, vast renewable energy potential: First and foremost, the solar energy resource is very large (Perez et al., 2009a). Figure 1 compares the current annual energy consumption of the world to (1) the known planetary reserves of the finite fossil and nuclear resources, and (2) to the yearly potential of the renewable alternatives. The volume of each sphere represents the total amount of energy recoverable from the finite reserves and the annual potential of renewable sources.

While finite fossil and nuclear resources are very large, particularly coal, they are not infinite and would last at most a few generations. More