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These Solar Technologies Could Power All of the U.S.

Set aside, for a second, the myriad complaints that get lobbed at solar power—that it’s too expensive, that it’s hated by Republican politicians and has become “partisan”—and just look at the brass tax; the potential electrical output of the different solar technologies alone. That’s what the National Renewable Energy Laboratory did, and in a new report, they found that solar held more potential to generate more power than any other clean energy source.

Between the various technologies already on the market, the NREL reckons there’s a proven potential for solar to hit a capacity of 200,000 gigawatts in the United States alone. For some perspective, 1 gigawatt is what a single nuclear power plant might generate, and it’s more than most coal plants. A gigawatt of capacity is enough to power approximately 700,000 homes.

You get the gist—we could pretty much run the entire continent on solar power if we deployed the technology properly.

Here’s how the various solar technologies break down in terms of potential, from the report (via Think Progress):


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