Solar heaters solar photovoltaics and concentrating solar power

Solar thermal water heaters are a no-brainer. They will work almost everywhere in the world. China are world leaders in this technology. There's over 100 GW of solar water heating capacity worldwide, and more than half of it is in China.

Solar photovoltaics were technically feasible for Europe, but I judged them too expensive. I hope I'm wrong, obviously. It will be wonderful if the cost of photovoltaic power drops in the same way that the cost of computer power has dropped over the last forty years.

My guess is that in many regions, the best solar technology for electricity production will be the concentrating solar power that we discussed on pages 178 and 236. On those pages we already established that one billion people in Europe and North Africa could be sustained by country-sized solar power facilities in deserts near the Mediterranean; and that half a billion in North America could be sustained by Arizona-sized facilities in the deserts of the USA and Mexico. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to identify appropriate deserts to help out the other 4.5 billion people in the world.

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