Hi guys,

I have written some articles in past on energy saving. I thought to share these here with you guys, which may be helpful to community. Please add your useful insights and knowledge to the topic too. Today I want to talk about Calculating the power of solar power:

The potential for solar power, that is the sun’s energy converted into electricity, is enormous. In fact, if we could harness all of the energy the sun generates in just an hour, we’d have enough to power the entire globe for a whole year. Current solar technology can only utilise up to 34% of the sun’s energy but that efficiency is improving all the time. In the meantime, solar energy is used to power everything from a torch or a calculator to an entire neighbourhood. The question is, how much solar power is enough? We investigate the amount of solar energy needed to power three very different items, from a tiny calculator, to a house, to the entire world.

**A Calculator**

Solar powered calculators have been in existence since the late 1970s and are powered by small photovoltaic panels mounted directly on the device. As it doesn’t take much power to run a small LCD screen, they only need a line of around four small cells, which can generate about 2 volts.

**Your Home**

This totally depends on the size of your home, your household’s energy consumption and the climate in which you live - obviously the smaller the home and the lighter your energy usage, the less solar panels you will need to power it. One way to work out the energy needs of your home, and therefore the number of solar panels you will need to meet those needs, is to perform a simple calculation. Using your electricity bills for the past year, add together the total number of kilowatt hours (kWh) your home has used each month for the past 12 months and then divide that number by 12 to give you your average kWh consumption. You then need to find out your area’s insolation, which is a measure of the actual amount of solar energy that will strike the panel each day. Your solar panel installer should be able to work this out for you, or else there are plenty of local calculators on the internet. Once you have that figure, you need to divide the figure representing your average monthly kWh usage by the insolation figure. This value will give you a rough idea of the amount of energy your solar panels will need to provide to power your home.

**The World**

OK, we’re a long way from being able - or governments being willing - to power the entire world using only solar energy. But what a wonderful world that would be! Taking the current efficiency rates of solar panels, we would need to cover approximately 496,905 square kilometres. This may seem a lot but when compared to the total land mass of the world, at 148,939,063 square kilometres, it is a tiny dot, and given that most of that space would be uninhabited deserts it would hardly impinge on humans. Plus, solar panel technology is improving all the time so by the time solar energy is considered on such a grand scale, we’re likely to need far less panels anyway.

I hope you enjoyed reading this.