We’ve already written about Tesla CEO Elon Musk before, and how he wants to change the world.
One of the ways he intends to do that is by pushing for people and industries to adopt solar power. And he reminded more than 30 US state representatives this past weekend at the National Governors Association meeting.
“If you wanted to power the entire United States with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States,” Musk said during his keynote on Saturday. “The batteries you need to store the energy, so you have 24/7 power, is one mile by one mile. One square-mile. A little square on the U.S. map, and then there’s a little pixel inside there and that’s the size of the battery park that you need to support that. Real tiny.”
In order to encourage states to adopt solar power, Musk laid out his plans to build infrastructure, powered by his company SolarCity, a subsidiary of Tesla. He says he’d like to build the solar panels required himself, in order to fulfil the enormous demand he expects from the transportation and home industries.
You can find the full keynote below, starting from the 1:03:55 mark.
1. Combine home panels and large solar farms
Musk plans to use a combination of home panels, as well as more on a larger city-wide scale, in order to meet the needs for electricity. Suburban homes could feature their own solar panels on the roof, or instead of roofing tiles as SolarCity has proposed, while larger installations on the outskirts of cities would help serve public utility needs. In fact, the company had also recently confirmed it will be building a gigantic solar battery to serve power to Southern Australia. In addition, the Tesla Powerpack from SolarCity, a system that uses multiple solar panels and batteries from Tesla’s cars, would help store the solar energy gathered instead of using it on an as-gathered basis.
2. Gradually transition with other power sources
Musk also believes that we can temporarily switch to other forms of power while we make the transition to solar. “We’ll need to be a combination of utility-scale solar and rooftop solar, combined with wind, geothermal, hydro, probably some nuclear for a while, in order to transition to a sustainable situation,” he said on Saturday.
3. Reduce infrastructure needs
Arguably most important, Musk believes the key to successfully implementing solar powered cities is to reduce the amount of visible infrastructure. “People do not like transmission lines going through their neighborhood, they really don’t like that, and I agree,” he said. To do this, he’s pushing for homes to adopt solar panels on their own, in order to be self sufficient and eliminate the needs for power lines entirely.