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I was researching for a project and came across this question. Maybe this is a bit too broad? How might solar energy work on Mars? Would it be sufficient to sustain a colony?

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Mercury: Temperature ranges from -300F to 800F. Either you will get too much or too little sunlight.

Venus: The hottest planet in our solar system. More than 850F. And the pressure in 90 times. And full of dense clouds, not sure if sunlight reaches the surface. Maybe over the clouds somewhere if we manage to hold our drones/satellites with solar panels there... it might work. But a lot of other complications will be on the way.

Mars: Low atmospheric pressure. Extremely cold and gets around 2.25 percent less sunlight than earth. Maybe the only other planet where solar panels are possible but probably work with 40-45% efficiency (please do your own calculation). Imagine putting solar panels in Antarctica, I think the scenario would be somewhat comparable but it would be worse on Mars.

Earth: Some people say that solar panels are tailor-made for this planet.

P.S. Maybe look into solar panels on Mars vs on Earth?

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  • $\begingroup$ "Extremely cold" should be good, though. Part of the inefficiency of solar cells is due to high temperatures. And Antarctica would suck for a number of reasons that wouldn't apply to Mars. Do you have any justification for your "40-45%" figure? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Nov 6 '17 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ It is just a back of an envelope calculation: it receives like 44% of the sunlight than what earth receives. So I just extended that (I know its not as simple because of other parameters). Mars rover uses Solar Panels so yeah definitely possible. Now that I am thinking, maybe for the project, they should just look into Mars vs Earth scenario. That would be cool. $\endgroup$
    – LostCause
    Nov 6 '17 at 20:13

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