White House outlines plan for solar to make up almost half of US electricity by 2050

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An ambitious new plan could mean 45% of US electricity comes from solar energy by 2050.

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The White House on Wednesday , a new report that details ambitious plans to shift US energy reliance on fossil fuels to solar power. According to the study, 3% of the country’s electricity came from solar panels as of 2020. The new plan proposes a dramatic jump to 40% solar energy by 2035 — and 45% by 2050. 

The report arrives as the US deals with damage from  that caused over a million people to . Hundreds of thousands of homes following the high winds and flooding that first hit Louisiana on Aug. 29. Extreme weather events like these are exacerbated by human-caused climate change.

The study, created by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, further outlines what would need to happen in order to meet these long term goals. Solar panel usage would have to increase by 30 gigawatts per year on average until 2025, by 60 GW per year from 2025 to 2030 in order to reach 1,000 GW by 2035 and, 유켄영국유학 ultimately, 1,600 GW by 2050.

For reference, there are 1 billion watts in 1 gigawatt. An  uses 20 watts; microwaves typically range from about 600 to over 1,000 watts. One gigawatt of power is equivalent to that of . 

A standard American home needs between  to run entirely on solar energy. If 1 GW is equal to roughly 3 million solar panels, 유켄영국유학 1 GW could theoretically power over 100,000 homes. We’re going to need a lot of solar panels: enough to cover 0.5% of the land surface area of the contiguous US, according to the report. Many of these will go on roofs, but others could be on “disturbed or contaminated lands unsuitable for other uses.”

“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the US by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in the .

The Solar Futures Study is just one element of the Biden administration’s sustainability plan. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the , a multilateral agreement to limit global temperature increases and reduce the impacts of climate change. The administration has also signed related to the climate crisis and 유켄영국유학 announced plans for by 2030. 

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