(30d) Land Availability, Utilization, and Intensification for a Solar Powered Economy
Land requirement analysis in this study takes into account several issues that are usually ignored. First, efficiencies of major energy conversion steps from current primary energy to end use are different from those when solar energy is deployed. Second, available land is limited to only part of the urban area (rooftops) and miscellaneous land. Farmland, forest and other reserved land such as national and state parks cannot be utilized for solar plant construction. In addition, we prefer local photons for local use for consideration of minimizing transmission loss and energy security.
Our land requirement analysis shows that for many states there is insufficient currently available land and that other land areas will need to be used, which is contrary to previous report. We propose that farmland is the best choice for land use intensification as it minimizes additional environmental impact to existing habitat and propose several photovoltaic systems for this purpose. We then estimate the power output of these systems and estimate the amount of farmland for each state that is needed to meet energy needs. By land intensification, the energy demand of each state in the US can be locally satisfied.