20 KW of solar for each house will become the new standard for Solar PV installations once the all electric car becomes the dominant form of private transport. That will allow the owner the option of fast charging during daylight hours directly from their own power supply.
How much space does 20 KW of Solar require?
The average PV solar panel currently on the consumer market can convert 20 – 25% of sunlight to electricity. The average amount of sunlight absorbed by a solar panel turns out to be around 70W/sq meter over a daily basis. At peak sunlight during the middle of the day that number rises to around 150W/sq meter. That means approx 10 square meters will provide a daily average of around 1KW of electricity. So the average house will require 10 x 20 or 200 square meters of solar PV to allow a daily average of 20KW to be generated locally. The average roof is about that size and with the addition of a Garage or carport it is entirely reasonable that most home owners will adopt a 20KW installation target over the coming decade. Especially as the price of PV continues to drop and the efficiency of the panels continues to improve.
However while that is good news for home owners who have the fund and space to make the transition to an all electric private transport system that doesn’t really help people in densely populated urban areas where apartment living is the norm. In that case they will continue to use metered electricity from the large suppliers. The issue for the large suppliers is how to pick up the coming dramatic decrease in available off grid energy that the decline of fossil fuels will create. If each car requires 20KW to make it viable to fast charge and provide a decent transportation infrastructure on the level that we are accustomed to they will need something a bit more efficient than solar PV.
CSP is the only quick and viable solution in that case. To quickly scale up to cover the losses represented by the decrease in available fossil fuel each city will have to provide additional electricity for the millions of new all electric cars that are about to hit the roads before the end of this decade. CSP is almost 100% efficient. A standard oil based CSP plant requires a lot of steel but not much more than a large building or ocean liner. Sure they also require a Steam turbine but they can be bought from large companies like Seimens pretty much off the shelf. The tech is well understood and highly efficient already.
The global daily output of Stainless Steel in 2012 was 94,520 tonnes which is almost 100,000 tonnes a day. Each panel in a CSP plant is approx 2.5 sq/m and weighs approx 8 Kg/sqm or a total of 20 Kg at 100mm thickness. To cover 2 square kilometers requires 1000mx1000mx2 = 2,000,000 square meters / 2.5 = 800,000 panels at 2.5 square meters per panel. 1 tonne of Stainless Steel provides 1000kg/20kg = 50 panels. 100,000 tonnes x 50 = 5,000,000 panels. That means in a single day we produce enough Stainless Steel to provide the raw material to cover 5,000,000 / 800,000 = 6.25 CSP plants each one with a total area of 2 square Kilometers.
Each CSP plant will be able to produce enough electricity to fast charge 2,000,000 / 200 = 20,000 cars at the same time in peak solar hours. Fast charging will enable a normal car to charge in 5 minutes so in the hottest part of the day between 10:00 – 14:00 a single plant will provide enough electricity to the grid to charge 4 hours x 60 minutes = 240 minutes / 5 = 48 x 20,000 = 960,000 cars. Each car can drive for anywhere between 60 – 400 Km om a single charge and as the average daily commute is approximately 35 km in most major cities that mean a single 2 sq/km CSP plant will be able to provide enough electricity to power over 7 million cars per week with a cycle rate of around half of that actually required on a weekly basis.
While constructing the large fields of Concentrated Solar Panel systems the local economy will see a substantial increase in income. Once completed the Energy companies will be able to continue to cover base load electricity without major disruptions to the supply and availability of normal electricity use. Electric car owners who do not have their own roof tops will be able to charge quickly and easily. Fuel stations will not have to completely shutdown operations and will remain a central part of a car owners lifestyle as they will be better placed to provide fast charge services to the large pool of commuters who don’t have easy access to electricity at street level.
The viability of CSP as a solution for every major city on the planet to solve the impending energy crisis represented by the sudden loss of fossil fuels should be a no brainer!
Unfortunately it is patently clear that providing a consistent and cheap source of electricity to each major city is going to be fought to the death by the coal, nuclear and oil companies. It’s a sad thing that the world has been held to ransom by these people for over a century when we have had the means to be energy self sufficient for the entire time.