Elon Musk is a big fan of solar. We all know that since for starters he sells Tesla solar roofs but mostly because he has always vehemently defended solar energy.
Two years ago the ambitious CEO claimed that solar could end Puerto Rico's energy crisis. "The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too," he said at the time.
Now, he has taken to Twitter again to share his positive views of solar. It all began when he shared a video of his tiles withstanding a beating from a hammer.
Is solar just "cute"?
"Super strong roof that generates clean energy, looks great & costs less than a normal roof plus solar panels!" wrote the proud CEO. A follower was quick to reply that fellow billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates did not agree, sharing an article where the entrepreneur called solar "cute" but said the true solution was nuclear.
Musk then responded that Gates was mistaken in this case. "He’s def wrong. Solar power is a Gigawatt per square km! All you need is a 100 by 100 mile patch in a deserted corner of Arizona, Texas or Utah (or anywhere) to more than power the entire USA," said the CEO.
He’s def wrong. Solar power is a Gigawatt per square km! All you need is a 100 by 100 mile patch in a deserted corner of Arizona, Texas or Utah (or anywhere) to more than power the entire USA. This analysis goes through calcs https://t.co/fI1I452tm6— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 7, 2019
He also shared a UCL article that fact-checked his claim that you could power the U.S. with solar. To be fair, Musk is not the only person to believe that the country could be powered with 100% renewables.
Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program Mark Z. Jacobson has made similar claims before. He believes the U.S. and even the world could be powered with 100% renewable energy.
Considering that climate change is upon us and that all use of fossil fuels worsens the situation, it might be a good idea to listen to alternatives. If Musk and Jacobson have even a small chance of being right, it definitely worth considering those options.