Friday , July 28 2017
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What if Trump’s wall were solar powered?

Summary:
Clearly, this is nonsense. A complete waste of time. It’s not our intention to suggest the US will pay for its Mexico border wall by putting solar panels along the south side. That’s definitely probably not going to happen. Though comic book supervillains might draft secret plans to harvest daylight from their enemies, the evidence that POTUS is a comic book supervillian is at best circumstantial. What we have here is a hypothetical.Would it work, though?Stage I: building a Wall“What a great idea!” says Doug McKenzie, a solar analyst and consultant, who goes on to explain why it’s a terrible idea. (Doug blogs at lightsonsolar.com: the principles and calculations that follow are mostly referencing off his work. Thanks also to Energy Futurist / Analyst / Writer / Speaker Chris Nelder for trying to guide us through the basics.)The first thing to note is that the US-Mexico international border is quite long. As in, it runs for 3,200 kilometres. America has a treaty with Mexico to protect the environment for 100km on either side of the border, which might limit the ability to build straight lines across the length of the frontier. And the borderline snakes quite a bit, across all sorts of terrain, in a way that solar farms usually don’t. Such complexity demands ballpark estimates where small changes make big differences.

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Clearly, this is nonsense. A complete waste of time. It’s not our intention to suggest the US...

Bryce Elder
Bryce is a sporadic Alphaville contributor and has been the FT’s UK equities reporter since 2008. Before that he wrote about UK equities at Morningstar. Before that he wrote about UK equities at The Times. Before that he wrote about UK equities at Bloomberg. Before that he wrote about UK equities at AFX News. Before that he did not write about UK equities.

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