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Archive for November, 2009

If We Used Solar Energy: How Much Would We Really Need?

Here are a few solar energy facts to put our energy situation in the US in perspective.

  • 330 Million Tera-watt (TW) hours of equivalent energy from the sun hits the earth every year.  (
  • Total number of watt-hours consumed in the United States in one year:
  • Energy Intensity: The ratio of energy consumption to a measure of the demand for services (e.g., number of buildings, total floorspace, floorspace-hours, number of employees, or constant dollar value of Gross Domestic Product for services.

According to Department of Energy (DOE) between 1985 and 2004, energy intensity, based on total energy and as measured by our newly developed index fell by 10%, considerably less than the simple E/GDP (Energy/Gross Domestic Product) ratio would indicate.

  • Energy  Consumption in US:
  • 1985 76.493 Quadrillion Btu   pop. 237,923,734
    • (…/office_howuseenergy.htm  and U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
      • 322.0 Million Btus / person
    • 2004 100.349 Quadrillion Btu   pop. 292,892,127
      • 343.0 Million Btus / person
    • 2008  99.305 Quadrillion Btu   pop. 304,059,724
      • 327.0 Million Btus / person
  • Energy consumption per capita, 2006 for the United States was 333 million Btu. Or approx. 97,600 Kw-hr per person
    • (
  • Share  of Energy Consumed by Major Sectors of the Economy (2007)
    • Commercial 18%
    • (…/uses/commercial.html)
    • Industrial 32%
    • Transportation 29%
    • Residential 21%
  • For transporting freight:
    • Trucking accounted for 65% of energy used
    • Water transportation accounted for 18%
    • Natural gas pipelines for 9%
    • Class I railroads for 8%.
    • (…/uses/commercial.html)