Revisiting the issue of transitioning to renewable energy like solar, DiCaprio talks to Elon Musk, CEO of Spacex and Tesla. Would it actually be possible to transition not only the U.S., but the entire world, to solar energy?
At Tesla’s gigafactory in Reno, Nevada, Musk is working on producing batteries that can efficiently store solar energy. This is a much-needed component of the solution, as the sun does not always shine, no matter where you live. A massive advantage of solar panels and batteries is that you avoid having to build any kind of electrical power plants.
A single battery pack could store energy collected by solar panels and supply power to an entire village, without having to build a power plant and draw power lines.
“It’s like what happened with landlines versus cellular phones,” Musk says. “A lot of developing countries didn’t do the landline phones. They went straight to cellular.”
Musk has calculated how many gigafactories like the one in Reno would be required to transition the whole world to renewable energy. The answer? One hundred gigafactories, measuring about 15 million square feet each. That’s all that would be required to make enough solar powered batteries to give solar energy to not just the U.S., but every nation on the globe.
As noted by Musk, were larger industry giants to get in on this, along with nations like China, the transition could be accomplished rather quickly. It would be even quicker if governments were to implement laws and regulations favoring renewable energy. Some countries are already well on their way.
About 30 percent of Germany’s energy comes from solar energy, for example. Denmark uses as much as 100 percent solar, and Sweden recently declared its intention to become the first fossil fuel-free nation in the world.