Could Mountaintop Removal Sites Power Kentucky With Solar?
From an old tin mine turned 1.4MW solar power plant, to a former coal mine turned clean energy village, we shouldn't underestimate the symbolic power of turning the remnants of extractive industries of the past into gleaming beacons of a more positive future. That's why an admittedly speculative essay over at Renewable Energy World caught my eye, in which Dan Hofman of RegenEn Solar suggests that the whole of Kentucky could be powered by solar farms on former mountaintop removal sites:
The following projection is based on experience from PV solar installations already in place here in Kentucky and from the fact that we get four and a half hours of sunlight per day on average, accounting for clouds. To produce that much electricity in one year from PV solar panels in this region, around 190 square miles of land would need to be covered by a 69.1 GW (gigawatt) solar array. And, 897 square miles of land has been has been flattened by MTR. Therefore, if we merely put PV solar panels on 1/5th of our already cleared land, we would supply ALL of the electricity needs for the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky!
So, what do we think7mdash;pipe dream, or ambitious call to action?