Will Solar Power Be The Energy Miracle?

what's the status on solar power it's gonna be a bright sunshiny day renewable energy is on our minds Bill Gates himself co-founder of Microsoft recently said that we are in need of an energy miracle so could solar power be that miracle well it's a story we've heard for decades I mean harnessing the sun's rays to generate sweet electricity has a lot of Appeal so what's standing in the way well traditionally two big barriers were cost and efficiency but there are two other issues that we have to deal with one is we can only generate electricity while the Sun is up right I mean otherwise the solar panels aren't catching any rays the other is once you generate that electricity you need to use it or store it or you lose it in other words if you don't put it to work right away or charge a battery with it it goes to waste fortunately batteries have been getting cheaper over time Bill Gates even envisions a future where we have batteries the size of swimming pools but in the meantime we're seeing these battery systems for homes get to a level where the average person could actually afford to switch to solar power if it makes sense for that person but how can you tell if it makes sense aha here's where a spin-off company from MIT called Matt dwell comes into play they send low-flying aircraft to measure the tops of buildings in urban areas they then figure out which ones are suitable for solar panels and they plot this information against an aerial view map so you just look at your building or your house and you see if solar panels make sense for you they even include information about tax incentives you might be eligible for and also how much utilities cost in your area so you'll know how much you save over time they're trying to make it as easy as possible for you to make a responsible decision but what about on the big big scale Bill Gates had talked about the possibility of using solar energy to create fuel how I don't know but I do know that we've got some really cool ideas that come close this like solar towers that are generating electricity on the megawatts scale a company called solar reserve has already built one of these towers in the United States just imagine a really tall tower like six hundred forty feet high or 195 meters tall surrounded by banks of mirrors that reflect sunlight at the top of those towers now at the top you installed solar absorbing panels these transfer thermal energy that is heat to the inside of the tower within the tower itself you have a network of pipes carrying liquid molten salts we're talking at temperatures of around 550 to a thousand 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 288 to 566 degrees Celsius that molten salt turns water into steam the steam turns the turbine and that generates electricity and here's the best thing at night all that molten salt can go into a tank and continue to heat water so 24 hours a day you have electricity on-demand all courtesy of the Sun even though the sun's not out how awesome is that so from the small scale to the large scale solar power is going to play an important part in our future and if we want to reach that future that Bill Gates was talking about we're gonna rely very heavily on young people coming up with innovative ideas thinking outside the box to come up with solutions that we can't even imagine right now this is a ripple effect that's going to go across the entire world and that's pretty exciting stuff now I've got a question for all of you out there have any of you attempted to get off the grid or supplement your energy needs in some way let me know your stories in the comments below thanks to Toyota for sponsoring this show and making it possible if you enjoyed this episode hit that little like button down there and don't forget to join the forward-thinking think tank by subscribing to the channel after all that check out these other amazing videos about the future right over here

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