A reader commented recently that solar energy requirements and/or subsidies for homes in the USA is a no-go because not enough sunshine falls on the country. I looked into it and the following map should enlighten us (pun intended, click to enlarge).

Average Daily Solar Radiation

The data are for a flat panel that rotates automatically along two axes in order to track the sun and capture as much energy as possible.

So… even in Fargo, North Dakota (lat. 46’52″N, no palm trees in sight) such a system would get on average 6-7 kWh of solar radiation per day, for every square meter of panel. Even with the least efficient panel available currently, at around 10% energy conversion, this means that for a mere 10 square meter system a home would generate ~6.5 kWh per day. And I should point out that panels are now being tested with conversion efficiencies upwards of 20%.

The rub? Price, as always. And that’s where your government feathers (see previous post) come in. How about this idea: we reduce defence spending by $30 billion/year and increase “black” fuel taxes by $30 billion/year and spend the $60 billion in installing state of the art solar panels in people’s homes FOR FREE through a lottery system. That should come to about 2 million installations every year. Not bad for such a small bunch of feathers, eh?

For your information, the federal government already spends $600 billion on defence every year. As for the other $30 billion, we could raise this entire sum by an extra 10 cents tax at the gas pump.