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Fact checking Elon Musk’s Blue Square: How much solar to power the US?

Andrew ZPSmith21 May 2015

How much power do solar photovoltaic systems produce per unit of land area? And does it matter: is it a constraint in the real world?

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At Elon Musk’s glitzy launch of the Tesla PowerWall and PowerPack batteries, the Tesla CEO showed a map of the US, with a small square in the North-West corner of Texas marked in blue, and said that solar panels over that surface area would be enough to enable US electricity to go carbon-free.

Here’s a quick fact-check on that claim. (more…)