The summer heat is fast approaching, and with it, the painful and annoying reality of rolling brownouts. One of the many inconvenient reminders of how inadequate our power grid is. As a service we pay for monthly, it cannot be relied upon. California and America aren’t the only ones suffering from this issue. Dwindling natural resources has become problematic across the globe. Governments all over the world are now researching heavily into various, renewable alternatives. At the top of their list is utilizing our most abundant resource, the sun.

What Type ofSOLAR Power are We Talking About

When scientists and politicians discuss using solar power as an alternative to power the world, they aren’t referencing theSOLAR PANELS you and I use for our home and commercial use. They are discussing the use of Solar Thermal Power Plants. A Solar Thermal Power Plant is a large installation that intakes light from the sun, processes it into electricity, and transports the electricity. Creating one, centralized facility to meet our global needs has multiple requirements.

What Area Is Required ForSOLAR Energy To Power The World

  • Access to the most Direct Normal Solar Irradiation
  • A large geographic area
  • Transportation and distribution

We have to be particular about where we build a Solar Thermal Power Plant, taking into consideration amount of consistent sunlight, vast geographic area, and ability to distribute the electricity generated.

Maximizing Solar Irradiation

Direct Normal Solar Irradiation is defined as the amount ofSOLAR ENERGY that hits a mirror perpendicular. DNSI is measured in kWh/m (kilowatts an hour per squared meter). In heavily populated areas similar to the California coastline, no more than 700 kWh/m is rarely reached. DNSI is strongest in the northern regions of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The desert regions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia average 3,000 kWh/m.

Area Required to Power the Entire Planet with Solar Energy
Area Required to Power the Entire Planet with Solar Energy

Available Real Estate

The next requirement is a large, geographic area to build a facility to meet current world needs. Scientists have decided an initial facility would need to cover an area of 183 miles by 183 miles. There is also a future requirement for increasing the Solar Thermal Power Plant to match global population growth. The Sahara Desert regions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia are sparsely populated, adding to this region’s ideal situation for supporting the world’s energy needs via solar power.

Centralizing a Solar Thermal Power Plant

All the converted solar energy has to be transported to populated areas. Traditional methods of transporting electricity, the most common being cable, would not be practical with a centralized energy provider. Scientists have devised a solution for this, High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Transmission. HVDC Transmission is just that, through use of various satellite systems, transmitting electricity over the airwaves, across the globe.

The Clock Is Ticking

Meeting the world’s energy needs using SOLAR energy is not an improbable mission. Our natural resources are dwindling with mineral oil to run dry in 43 years and natural gas exhausted within 64 years. The world will need to invest heavily in renewable resources and it doesn’t have to be limited to a massive facility in the Sahara Desert. We can start now by optimizing solar energy benefits for our individual homes.

About the author

This article was composed by Kassie Berger.  Kassie is currently contributing content and articles to while she is in school studying for her Electrical Engineering Degree at University of Colorado at Denver.


Area Required to Power the Entire Planet with Solar Energy