How Much is One Hour of Solar Energy Worth?
There’s one simple fact that may change your thoughts on renewable power.
In a single hour, the amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year.
To put that in numbers, from the US Department of Energy:
Each hour 430 quintillion Joules of energy from the sun hits the Earth. That’s 430 with 18 zeroes after it!
In comparison, the total amount of energy that all humans use in a year is 410 quintillion Joules.
For context, the average American home used 39 billion Joules of electricity in 2013.
Clearly, we have a source of virtually unlimited (the sun won’t die out for another 5 billion years or so) clean energy in the form of solar power — we’re just not capturing it.
In 2014, solar only provided 0.39% of the energy used in the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Renewables — including solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and geothermal — accounted for 13% of the total.
There’s a big push for renewables, for obvious reasons. They don’t increase our carbon footprint or exacerbate global warming, like burning fossil fuels, does.