The following is a collection of interesting, useful, and often hard to find facts about energy in general and renewable resources in particular. Please feel free to use them in papers, reports, conversations, etc.,...
If you have questions or comments, or a "tidbit" that you think should be published here, please email us at rredc@nrel.gov.
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Solar

Wind

Biomass

Geothermal

General


SOLAR
  • Solar Energy Available

    • Every day, more energy falls on the U.S. than we use in an entire year. The total amount of solar energy per year falling on the conterminous 48 states is 1.37 * 1016 kW-h/year - or 46,700 Quads/year - of solar energy falling on the lower 48 states. Compare this to 94.2 Quad/year, the rate of energy consumption in the U.S.in 1997 ( Ref: Renewable Energy Annual 1998, DOE/IEA-0603(98), pg 1.)

    • Every day more solar energy falls to the Earth than the total amount of energy the planet's 5.9 billion inhabitants would consume in 27 years (http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html.)

  • Use the UV index to estimate solar energy:

    • Multiply the UV index (1-10) by 100 to roughly estimate the peak solar energy (usually around noon) in Watts per square meter for the day (i.e., UVI = 9 => 900 W/m2 around noon)

    • Multiply the UV index by 5 to roughly estimate (around noon) the peak number of Watts per square meter of solar energy in the UV part of the spectrum (wavelength < 400 nm)

WIND
  • U.S. wind potential

    • Researchers estimate that there is enough wind potential in the United States to displace at least 45 quads of primary energy annually used to generate electricity.

  • California wind energy

    • More than 16,000 wind turbines in California generate enough electricity to meet the residential requirements of a city of about 1 million people (The population of Denver is about 500,000). This is equivalent to a medium-sized nuclear plant (http://www.nrel.gov/wind/atlpap2.html.)


BIOMASS
  • Biomass energy use in the U. S.

    • Today, various forms of biomass energy account for 45 percent of renewable energy used in the U.S. Biomass is used to meet a variety of energy needs, including generating electricity, heating homes, fueling vehicles and industry (http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biomass.html.)

GEOTHERMAL
  • U.S. geothermal power production


GENERAL



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