Clean Power

Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


“In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.”

April 18th, 2012 by  

Our quick post the other day on a fun image noting that deserts receive more energy from the sun in 6 hours than humankind consumes within a year was quite popular, as was Vote Solar’s witty solar energy spill billboard, so I figure you might also like the image above that the Australian Youth Climate Coalition dropped on the CleanTechnica ‘timeline’ on Facebook. As it notes, in 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.

It reminds me of this next image, which I am fond of sharing, that shows annual renewable energy potential compared to the total energy potential of finite energy resources:

solar energy

"Comparing finite and renewable planetary energy reserves (Terawatt‐years). Total recoverable reserves are shown for the finite resources. Yearly potential is shown for the renewables." (source: Perez & Perez, 2009a)

In other words, people who say we don’t have space to power the world with renewable energy are off their bloody rocker.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • For some really cool info-graphics and insight into the “solar’ potential a look at this video of a lecture (don’t worry it’s a TED and only 13min) by Joe Jordan (a real scientist) is in order. Enjoy…

  • Richie

    Average annual growth of energy consumption is 2.6% (since 1966, BP statistical review, not including wood localy used for fire).
    At this rate, the “small” 16TWy/y we use will become a whopping 24,000 TWy/y in 285 years.

    More than what the Sun gives.

    And thermodymadics tell that we will boil in the co-generated heat.

    Cutting down our energy use is imperative (by 3 to 10 times for OCDE countries down to 2000W/capita which is the current world average of primary power consumption)

    • Certainly important to cut down energy consumption. But I also wouldn’t extrapolate that growth for so long. That’s nearly impossible, in many respects.

  • Luke

    I’ve seen that bubble graph before… and it’s truly amazing how much sunlight the Earth receives – it dwarfs even the potential of wind energy. I also love the concept of space-based solar power, but its too expensive to work at the moment.

    Nice post…

    • Thanks. A good image is worth a thousand words… or maybe even many more. 😀

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