The Earth intercepts a lot of solar power: 173,000 terawatts. That’s 10,000 times more power than the planet’s population uses. So is it possible that one day the world could be completely reliant on solar energy?

Find out how solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy in this TED Ed lesson by Richard Komp with animation by Globizco. Plus, from The Guardian in March 2017:

New solar photovoltaic capacity installed in 2016 reached more than 76 gigawatts, a dramatic increase on the 50GW installed the year before. China and the US led the surge, with both countries almost doubling the amount of solar they added in 2015, according to data compiled by Europe’s solar power trade body.

Globally there is now 305GW of solar power capacity, up from around 50GW in 2010 and virtually nothing at the turn of the millennium.

Related reading: How much space would it take to sustain the world’s largest cities by solar energy?

Related videos: Stanford Solar Car Project and fourth graders that created a solar powered classroom. Plus, watch 24/7 Concentrated Solar Thermal Power + Molten Salt Storage, plastic bottle water wheel power generator experiment, and climbing wind turbines for a living.

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