MIT Scientists Discuss Potential for Solar Energy

A friend who is an MIT Alum forwarded me this from the MIT News about some of the research going on in solar energy at at the Institute.  It is good to see and hear about the different paths of research that some highly intelligent people are pursuing to make solar more efficient and cost competitive.

Lots of interesting tidbits in here.  I've heard it before, but it bears repeating that 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of energy strikes the Earth continuously -- more than 10,000 times what we currently use.  The challenge is harnessing and moving that power when we need it.

Since solar energy is, at least in theory, sufficient to meet all of humanity’s energy needs, the question becomes: “How big is the engineering challenge to get all our energy from solar?” Taylor says. 

Solar thermal systems covering 10 percent of the world’s deserts — about 1.5 percent of the planet’s total land area — could generate about 15 terawatts of energy, given a total efficiency of 2 percent. This amount is roughly equal to the projected growth in worldwide energy demand over the next half-century. 

Read the whole article here.