Looking for Power? Look up!

courtesy click2houston.com

I had a quick conversation with my neighbor yesterday about solar panels as he is considering installing some on his roof. This is a pretty typical discussion when we have these long stretches of blue sky, especially after last February’s ERCOT disaster. We don’t talk much about putting in a wind turbine, yet coincidentally Climate Central sent down a fascinating look at just how much power both the sun and the wind can generate. I have graphics! Given today’s sunshine and what we are expecting over the weekend, here is how much power the good ole sun would generate:

Look at the savings from the Sun!

Look at the Home Energy Savings! That is a percentage of daily electricity cost saved by an average household with an average-sized solar array on its roof versus using power only from the grid. That is substantial.

More cloud cover on Sunday reduces the solar power, but winds pick up, so check out the increase in wind power generation:

Thousands of homes powered!

Calm winds today, an increase tomorrow and breezier on Sunday takes “Homes Powered” from around 2,500 to better than 57,000!

What’s this Mean?

Homes and power and equivalent measurements can glaze the eyes a bit, so consider what this means to the reality of the way we live. For instance, how many cell phones could be powered by the sun the next three days? Tens of millions every day!

Cars, trees and smartphones!

And even more smartphones would get charged with wind power. Look at Sunday!

Cars, Trees and smartphones

What does Car Miles mean? The number of miles an average car would need to be driven to emit the same amount of CO2 as in the ‘CO2 Avoided’ estimate.

And Trees Planted? The number of tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years that it would take to absorb the same amount of CO2 from the air as in the ‘CO2 Avoided’ estimate.

Climate Central’s web tool allows you to select not just cities, but counties, regions and states. You can also have a look at ten different metrics. The webpage is right here and makes a great learning tool for classrooms! And all of us can learn a lot about just how ‘powerful’ the sun and wind really are--I encourage you to check it out!

Have a sunny, breezy weekend! Go Astros!!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.