If you grew up in the 1980s– if you were alive in the 1980s– you probably remember Americans developed a certain fascination with Australia thanks to several movies, like Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. We learned there was a great desert expanse there known as the “Outback.”
When one thinks of the desert, one usually thinks of heat, sand, and sun… and not much else. It’s the perfect kind of place for a gigantic solar “farm” to harness the sun’s rays and turn them into energy we can use to sustain our electricity-dependent lifestyles.
Solar energy has really taken off in the past couple years, and in South Australia the Lyon Group is developing a billion dollar solar farm with 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million individual batteries. Read that sentence one more time please and take note: 3.4 million panels and 1.1 million batteries! The overall capacity of this place will be a whopping 330 megawatts of power, 100 megawatts of which will be stored in all those batteries and used when the sun sets. This facility’s renewable energy will help ensure that South Australia’s residents do not face power outages. Meanwhile, it means less focus on using finite fossil fuels for energy needs.
If you haven’t actually visited South Australia, know this: it’s a state in Australia, much like our Texas. Actually, it has an even more extreme wilderness than Texas. With a total land area of almost 380,000 square miles, most of the area is arid and empty of people. There are 1.7 million people calling the state home, but the majority of them live in the capital of Adelaide and its suburbs, which is near the ocean and decidedly not desert. That leaves plenty of wide open space for solar farms that can quietly and efficiently take in sunshine and convert it to energy.
Utilizing decent batteries to store solar energy is a good step forward for the solar industry. Meanwhile, the more solar farms there are, the better off our planet will be. Coal and oil are dirty and can “run out,” while solar is clean and infinite.