Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Solar energy capability

Could the United States meet its electricity requirements using solar power? The answer seems to be yes, in theory, but there’s a long, long, long, loooong way to go to get there.

A 2012 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gives the total consumption of electricity in the US (2011)  as 3,856 TWh (Terrawatt-hours). The report assess the “available renewable energy resources” for each state and state that “urban utility scale photovoltaics” could supply almost 2/3 that amount, rooftop photovoltaics could produce 20% more. Rural scale photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind could produce way, way more. The total, if exploited, would be more than 100 times current consumption. Wikipedia Ref.   Source material ref.

Where are we now? Here’s a graphic that shows the sources and uses of energy in the United States

Sources and uses of energy

A looooong way to go.

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