The area of solar panels required was calculated from equation
E = A * r * H * PR
- For energy (E), we summed the countries’ electricity, natural gas and refined petroleum products consumption according to the CIA World Factbook.
- For solar panel efficiency (r) and performance ratio (PR) we used the values suggested by photovoltaic-software.com – 15% and 0.75 respectively.
- For Annual average solar radiation (H), we averaged the total yearly values given for each country in OpenSolarDB.
- Countries for which either the World Factbook or OpenSolarDB didn’t have data were left out of the analysis.
Since we didn’t have data for every country, the total area needed to power the world was estimated by finding the average area needed for a country, and multiplying it by the total number of countries (195).
Note that each country was enlarged to fit the box above the world map. While the squares on each map are to scale with the country itself, they aren’t to scale between countries, since all the countries vary a lot in size.