Entirety of US could be powered by solar energy, according to Elon MuskJuly 19, 2017
A small part of the country could use solar panels to generate all of the country’s electricity
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity, believes that the entirety of the United States can be powered by a 100 mile by 100 mile track of land equipped with solar energy systems. Musk outlined this vision during a meeting with the National Governors Association. According to Musk, the land needed for this endeavor can be found in Nevada, Texas, or Utah. These three states have extensive tracks of open land and receive ample sunlight throughout the year.
Musk predicts that solar energy will become more important
Musk believes that a combination of rooftop solar panels and utility-scale solar energy projects is needed in order to accomplish his vision. Residential solar energy has already become somewhat popular, particularly in areas where net metering is popular. Utility-scale solar projects are still somewhat rare due to their relatively high cost of development, but these projects are still attracting more support. In order for the U.S. to make adequate use of solar power, however, it will have to make use of large-scale battery systems. These systems will store electrical power until it is needed most, typically during the night when the sun is not shining.
Electric vehicles may soon receive their power from solar energy
Not only does Musk believe that solar energy will become a primary form of power for the United States, he also expects that this form of clean power will play a major role in the transportation space. Tesla has already established a major presence in the auto industry with its electric vehicles. These vehicles rely on fossil-fuels, however, as these fuels are used to generate the electricity they need to operate effectively. Musk intends to power future electric vehicles with solar energy. He claims that all transportation, with the exception of rockets, will run off electricity in the coming years.
Solar power continues to gain significant support
Solar energy has managed to gain significant momentum in the United States in recent years. The sector has attracted significant investments from both the public and private spaces. Currently, approximately 10% of the electricity produced in the country is generated using renewable sources. This is expected to change in the future, however, as solar energy plays a larger role throughout the U.S.