Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The US, and the Sahara - Germany and Alaska

There was a consortium ("Desertec") to put up solar panels in the North African Desert and ship the electricity provided under the Mediterranean to Europe.  This is a great idea since North Africa gets so much more sun than Europe that it more than makes up for the transmission losses and cost of setting up the cable.  What most people don't realize is that the southern half of the US is on the same latitudes as N. Africa and the Sahara.

Algiers and Fresno, CA are at 36' 40", Miami, FL (25' 46") is only one degree north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (24' 38")

And sunny Spain or sun-drenched Greece?  Madrid (40' 23") is to the north of Columbus, Ohio (40' 00") while Athens (37' 58") is to the north of Richmond, VA (37' 33").

Anyone looking into renewable generation of electricity (hydro, wind turbines and solar, mainly) knows Germany is the world leader in getting electricity from the sun (38 GW - more than the US, Japan, or China).  But if you look at the amount of sun Germany gets, it looks worse than Alaska's (click graphic below to enlarge):

Munich, 48' 08", is in southern Germany and it is to the north of Seattle WA (47' 37").  Most of Germany is on a parallel range with Canada.

The US has a huge potential for solar generation of electricity.  We have no need to burn coal or natural gas.

The stone age didn't end because people ran out of stones, but because something better was invented.

All new construction should have solar panels built in.

Ref:
Desertec:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec

Latitudes of large US cities:
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001796.html

Other cities' latitudes are from Wikipedia entry on that city.

German solar electricity generation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany

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