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With the energy emitted by the sun in 1 second, how long could everyone household on earth be powered?

Currently we obviously can't harvest 100% of the sun's energy emissions.

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The total world energy consumption in 2018 was ~22,315 TWh ~ 8.0334 x 1019 J [e.g., see https://www.iea.org/reports/electricity-information-overview]. For a 365 day year with 86,400 seconds per day, this would correspond to an average power consumption of ~2.547 x 1012 W.

The Sun generates on the order of ~3.828 x 1026 W of electromagnetic energy at its surface, which corresponds to ~1370 W m-2 at the orbit of Earth. We just divide the two numbers to get ~9.311 x 109 m2 for an area we'd need to cover with solar panels (assuming 20% efficiency), or ~3595 mi2 (~9311 km2). That's a little less than two Delaware's in terms of area. The Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States has an aread of ~106,945 mi2, for reference.

With the energy emitted by the sun in 1 second, how long could everyone household on earth be powered?

If we assume 20% efficiency in energy capture and use the numbers above, then that would correspond to ~3.005 x 1013 seconds of energy or ~3.479 x 108 days or ~953,021 years.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is insane. Thanks for calculating $\endgroup$ – Tobi Akinyemi Mar 16 at 17:41

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