Everyone loves green energy. I mean who really wants to burn coal forever to generate electricity while risking the environment. That's why A lot of countries including India are trying to diversify their energy production portfolio and adopting solar energy is essential step in that progress.
But, we might have question that how much land do we need to power entire country only by solar? Well, Let's find it out...
According to this Wikipedia article, In year 2019-2020 India produced around 1.6 Terawatt hour of electricity. Now, we calculate electricity by kWh or Kilowatt hour which equates to 1600000000 kWh during that year. So, the per day consumption would be 4,371,584 kWh.
Let's come to solar panels. A typical solar panel of 1 Sq. m produces 150 Wh or 0.15 kWh. Now its comes down to basic math.
4,371,584 Sq. m / 0.15 = 29,143,893 Sq. m
i.e. we need 29.14 Sq. Km. of Land. But, there's catch to it that here we are assuming that solar can produce electricity 24/7 which isn't the case. Solar can only generate electricity for 6 hrs. in its peak efficiency. So, the electricity generation get quartered hence we need to multiply the land area by 4 times to cover up additional losses and given the scenario that we could store all that excess energy in batteries.
The ultimate land area that we need is roughly 120 Sq. Km to provide electricity daily entirely with solar
29.14 Sq. km x 4 = 116.56 Sq. km
For a moment you might think that 120 Sq. km is a really big area but actually its really a small portion of Indian territory considering India's area is 3,287,240 sq. km that will just account for 0.00365%.
To give you an perspective, Area of Thar desert is 238,254 Sq. km which covers 7.24% of Indian landmass and we only need tiny land represented by a black dot in following image.
I hope you like this article. With that said, I'll see you next time.
If you find any calculation mistakes then please let me know in comment box below.