How many 400W panels would the Imperium have needed to keep the lights on on the Death Star if Emperor Palpatine had done an ESG audit? How many solar modules would Marty and Doc have had to fix into the DeLorean to get the flux capacitor to light up? pv magazine and English solar installer Solar Fast are happy to provide answers…
But with an eye on the history of solar power in space missions – combined with an enthusiasm for big screen classics – the people at West Yorkshire-based solar installer Solar Fast have put their heads together to estimate how many 400W panels are needed to power the technology in some of our favorite screen moments.
Let’s start with the world’s most famous DeLorean.
“Great Scott, Marty, we need 1.21 GW!”
You could only find that kind of energy in a lightning strike in 1955 – at least in a small American town.
Of course, the 1.21 GW weren’t meant to power the car itself, they were needed to start the flux capacitor nuclear reaction (more details on Busted’s upcoming UK tour).
That means Doc would have needed 3.025 million 400W panels for Hill Valley Main Street to get Marty back to 1985 in a sustainable way, not to mention batteries, since Marty was on his way at 10:04 p.m.
Solar finds a way
In contrast, juicing the electric fences needed to keep out Jurassic Park’s velociraptors would be much easier.
Since the fences are charged to produce 10,000V, and today’s agricultural electric fences can reach this level and use a single power supply to power 14 km, we believe you only need nine panels along 80 miles for the Isla Nublar fence. Of course, none of that solves the problem of terminating employees.
As for Star Wars’ Death Star, a Solar Fast crew member trying to figure out how much energy it would take to power a planet-destroying laser had to be laid out in a dark room, so we cut back. in our goal and instead looked at the load needed to simply keep the lights on.
I am … your installer
According to Wikipedia, the Death Star has 85 levels and 257 sub-levels, housing more than 2 million workers, with a floor area of 120 km x 120 km and a volume of about 9.05-14 meters.3.
If we estimate that about 101.76 billion 100W bulbs would be needed, that’s more than 25.4 billion panels needed to cover the surface of a spaceship whose windows appear to have been of a high standard, although Darth Vader would probably have been quite handy to attach a bulk discount.
Staying with the space opera, we consider how many panels are needed to power the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Federation Galaxy-class starship captained by Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now the energy transition is probably involved.
The Treknology website tells us, “Star Trek’s warp power works by annihilating matter (in the form of deuterium, a type of hydrogen gas) and antimatter in a fusion reaction mediated by dilithium crystals. This produces the enormous power needed to warp space and drive the ship faster than light. But you all knew that already, right?
Enterprise would have needed 6.25 trillion panels if it could have produced 2.5 PW of energy – to make the ship warp 9 – and 2.5 million panels per gigawatt.
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So what about the Ghostbusters proton packs that every kid at a costume party in 1984 is hoping for, enjoying a renaissance after their appearance on Netflix was crushed by Stranger Things?
GBFans.com tells us that each package is powered by Curium-246 and requires a 1.5MW trap-focused, non-terminal repetitive phantom or Class 5 full-grid steam.
With that kind of load, each pack would have needed 3,750 of our panels to get going, but we’re sure Egon would have cut that number by using batteries and installing a proper roof system on the station.
Genius, billionaire, playboy, solar master?
The Proton Pack requirement is significantly less than what is needed to ignite the arc reactor that powers Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, and just think, it had gone through 42 designs in the third movie, all apparently powered by a domestic outlet!
As Stark says during his debut, “If my math is correct – and it always is – three gigajoules per second” is the required load. That would correspond to 3 GW of production capacity and thus 7.5 million panels.
Still, if anyone could rise to such an engineering design challenge, it would be our man Tony, although since it’s a palladium-powered fusion power source, Stark Industries might not have been the most likely candidate. pursues solar energy.
And don’t get me started on Daniel Craig’s reputational damage that Glass Onion has done to the green hydrogen industry. That’s a whole other discussion.
Author: Robert Cathcart