A recent study released by Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization, and several environmental organizations has concluded that solar technology alone could supply electricity for the whole state.
They cite a number of mind-blowing prospects from a variety of sources, all pointing to Texas as having the number one solar generating potential of the US states.
Concentrating solar power in Texas was found by one study to have a potential capacity of 148,000 megawatts. That is just one solar technology type. (The current total solar power capacity of the US is about 9,000 MW, – wind is 26,000 MW). Their study document also states, ” Photovoltaic plants covering 30 miles by 30 miles could power the entire state.” The types of technology referenced are photovoltaics, thin film photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, parabolic troughs, parabolic dishes/sterling engines, central receivers, linear fresnel reflectors, and solar water heaters.
Thin film photovoltaics employ semiconductors several millionths of a meter thick and can be applied to many sun-facing surfaces such as building exteriors. Production costs and times are low. The number of thin film modules produced may exceed the crystalline variety within 1-2 years.
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Concentrating solar power uses mirrors to increase energy intensity to heat a liquid to 400 degrees C, which reportedly stores the energy more efficiently that conversion directly to electricity that is stored in batteries. The stored heated liquid can produce energy on cloudy days and at night.