Why Don’t We Cover The Desert With Solar Panels?


Covering a desert with solar panels seems a logical idea. Plenty of unused space, particularly large annual number of sunny days, with temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius, and also a favorable solar altitude angle allowing to achieve high efficiencies of energy conversion – all these factors inevitably lead to an assumption that any desert should be packed with photovoltaic energy farms.

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Sahara desert covered with solar panels could generate amount of energy more than hundred times larger than humanity currently needs. Image credit: Pixabay, free licence

Scientists estimate, that the largest hot desert in the world – Sahara – receives approximately 22 million terawatt hours of energy in a form of Solar radiation over a single year. Is it much? Well, with our current energy consumption rates, needs of the entire humanity would be satisfied with just 1% of that amount.

Are there any negative issues to that? Why don’t we start building huge solar powerplants in our deserts right now? The following video discusses this idea, weighing up its positive and also negative aspects: