How many Solar Farms do we really need?

solar farm foundations

A big question around renewable energy is ‘when is there enough?’. At what point are there enough solar farms, wind farms and hydro energy plants to power the world?

The obvious response to that question is ‘when the supply of renewable energy meets the global energy demand’, but how much is that exactly? In 2017, the global electricity demand was roughly 25,000 terawatt-hours with solar providing only 1.8% of this demand at 450 terawatt-hours.  

According to Origin Energy, the largest operational solar farm in the world, as at November 2018, is the Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park in India. The park spans across 23 square kilometres and features a capacity of 1000 megawatts.

In India it is estimated that each megawatt of solar farm capacity generally produces 990 megawatt-hours per year. This would mean the Kurnool park solar farm produces roughly 990,000 megawatt-hours or 0.99 terawatt-hours in a year, equalling a total of 0.0039% of the world’s energy demand.

Based on this data, the world would need approximately 25,252 solar farms the size of the Kurnool park situated in similar weather conditions to meet the 2017 global energy demand. It is of course naive to assume one source of energy can be the sole provider for the world, however, it is a simple metric to show the scale of where we are and what could be to come.

Given the decrease in cost for solar farm development over the past few years, with prices expected to decline further, solar sure is shaping up to become a primary provider of energy to the world.

With such a promising, clean future ahead, it is an exciting time to be a part of the solar farm industry and we look forward to working with many other participants in the coming years.

If you’d like to read more about our role in the solar farm industry and how we can assist developers, EPC’s and array suppliers with our piling expertise, have a quick read of our ‘work with us’ page.

Written by Solar Pile International.

Published 2/12/2018


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