What size solar collector would be able to provide power for a small automobile (requiring say 25 kW peak power)?
Such a collector is not for integration in the roof of the car, but consider a car with a suitable storage facility (e.g. flywheel) which could be charged by electricity from solar cells covering e.g. a garage rooftop.
The (annual) average power requirement of the car is much lower than the peak power. Assume e.g. an average net power requirement of 300 W (roughly corresponding to 1300 W of fuel for the more efficient types of automobiles produced at present), and estimate the solar cell area which would be required in order to produce power at about this level for most of the year (depending on latitude).
The flywheel storage, which has also been considered for "peak shaving" in present generations of cars, has the advantage of being capable of delivering very high peak power levels for start and acceleration (if this is considered a feature of petrol-driven car engines worth preserving).
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Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.