X Close

UCL Energy Institute Blog


Blogs by staff & students of the UCL Energy Institute


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

By Andrew ZP Smith, on 21 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?


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…)