Currently, the largest source of energy is derived from burning coal-containing fuels. This process is usually inefficient, non-renewable and also has harmful side effects for the environment.
Solar energy would be a feasible energy alternative in many areas of the world if the cost of its production and the land required to generate it were cheap enough and the storage systems were efficient enough.
The generation of solar electricity depends on photovoltaic conversion or the concentration of direct sunlight. The photovoltaic conversion works, in cloudy days, with a lower efficiency, while the direct sunlight concentrating system can be achieved without semiconductors. In both cases, not much material is required, and mechanical designs can be simple and relatively easy to maintain.
Solar detection systems can benefit from cheap computers and compact actuators. Energy can be efficiently stored for a few days in relatively large flywheels constructed of fine diamond weighing water. Smaller energy storage systems can be constructed with diamond springs and offer an energy density similar to chemical fuel storage and much higher than batteries available today.
Electrolysis and recombination of water offer scalable, storable and transportable energy. However, there is a cost in the efficiency and complexity of the technology to deal safely with large-scale hydrogen storage and transportation.
Solar solutions could be implemented at the individual, village or national level. Direct sunlight energy accounts for approximately 1kv per square meter. If this is divided by 10, taking into account the hours of night, cloudy days and system problems, the current demand of the North American market (about 10 kv per person) would require about 100 square meters of surface per person. If this figure is multiplied by a population of 325 million people, the result is the need to cover approximately 12,500 square miles with solar collectors. This represents only 0.35% of the total surface area of the United States. And much of this space could be achieved through rooftops or even the surface of roads.