Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: another_someone on 07/06/2006 21:20:28

Title: How does land use for solar generation compare with other generation methods?
Post by: another_someone on 07/06/2006 21:20:28
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Construction work has begun in southern Portugal on what is set to be the world's largest solar power station.
The 58m euro (40m) plant near Serpa, 200km (125 miles) south of Lisbon, will produce enough electricity for 8,000 homes when it starts next January.
The 11-megawatt solar power plant, to be made up of 52,000 photovoltaic modules, will cover a 60-hectare (150-acre) southern-facing hillside.
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That, to my calculations, works out at 817 square feet of land used for each home supplied with solar power.  How does that compare with land usage for other means of generating power?

Ofcourse, this is for a prime, south facing hillside, in a relatively sunny country the area covered would be substantially more in countries such as the UK.

It also does not take into account the fact that this energy will only be provided during daylight hours, and would have to be stored for night time use (although this may not be such a serious consideration so long as it only contributes a small percentage of the nations electrical needs, since the night time usage can be made up for by increasing fossil burning during hours of darkness, but in that case the usage of land will have to increase in order to allow two different power generating systems, a day time system and a night time system, to be accommodated).

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