Thursday, December 18, 2014

Free Energy!... for the low, low price of $1,100,000,000,000

there's an idea going around that the US could provide "free energy" in the form of solar panels for every household in America... and while i'm completely for this idea, as a general rule, there are some nasty facts out there to deal with... let's begin.

there are, at best account, around 316,000,000 people in America.

averaging about four people per household (discounting all arguments regarding apartment dwellers, the homeless, and hermits), we have about 79,000,000 homes to furnish with solar panels.

each solar panel will cost about $10,000 in material, and we can estimate (on the low side) $5,000 to install... we all know that electricians charge a lot (no pun intended), so that is probably really low.

79 million X $15K = $1,185,000,000,000... that's $1.1 trillion.

"Well that's what we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined! Make solar, not war!"

well, aside from the costs of NOT going to war, like allowing terrorists to train in these regions, the continued slaughter of the innocents by Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and additional strikes on US foreign and domestic target, we'll tentatively agree that we could use a similar amount of money to provide solar panels... we're talking possibility here, not ideology.

so, if it's possible, why aren't we funding that?

well, because we have a small problem:
Thin, cheap solar panels need tellurium, which makes up a scant 0.0000001 percent of the earth’s crust, making it three times rarer than gold.
when the rush to build solar panels increases, the value of these "rare earth" materials will rise exponentially... the cost will be much more than those simple numbers above, because a high demand and a low supply will increase costs dramatically.

so, while, on the surface, it sounds like a great idea, one i'm totally behind... in reality, it's not that easy.

but nothing worthwhile ever is.

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