There's been so much talk lately about a massive wall along a certain high profile border, that we thought to ourselves, "If there has to be a wall, why can't it be a solar wall?!"
The length of the US-Mexico border is 1,989 miles, however, in some places there are natural barriers or fences already in place. The proposed wall is expected to cover roughly 1,000 miles of unobstructed land between the two countries. Besides creating thousands of jobs in an already booming industry, a solar wall (that large!) would yield utility scale energy production.
1,000 miles * 5,280 ft/mile * 12 in/ft / 78" per 72 cell module
= 812,307 columns of modules (columns, oriented in landscape)
Typically, fixed tilt arrays are installed up to 5 rows of modules high.
A 30 degree tilt creates a 10' wall. (The wall can be even higher with more solar if needed!)
Thus, 812,307 * 5 = 4,061,538 total modules
along a 1,000 mile long solar array of 72 cell modules.
72 cell modules are typically 350W.
4,061,538 modules * 350W/module = 1,421,538,300 Watts or 1.4 Gigawatts.
That's enough energy to power 220,000 average homes every year!
Along the very sunny southern border of the United States, the array would receive an (incredibly high) average of 6.5 hours of peak sun. With a system efficiency of 80%, this 1.4 GW array will produce 7.28 GWh of electricity each day or 2,657.2 GWh annually—worth over $106,000,000 (106 Million dollars) per year via competitive utility scale PPA agreement at $40/MWh. This is cheaper than all other forms of electricity (coal, natural gas, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc).
Fixed tilt, no trackers, (i.e. a wall) utility scale solar is installed for $1/Watt.
($1/W was the Departmet of Energy's goal to reach by 2020, and was achieved well ahead of schedule!)
The array, of 1,400,000,000 Watts (1.4GW), costs $1/W to install, or $1,400,000,000 ($1.4 Billion).
The Trump wall is estimated to cost between $10-15 Billion dollars.
Producing $106,000,000 worth of electricity a year, the life of the system is more than double the payback period. This is assuming electricity costs do not climb—which they will, only further shortening the payback period!
And that, solar friends, is how you build a energy wall to power the U.S. with less divisive dialogue and lots of clean vibes. #SolarNotWalls #RenewableEnergyIsHomelandSecurity #GreenEconomy