It's true that a great deal of the energy of sunlight is drained in the last 300-400 miles, especially the last 75 or so. That's a good thing, because otherwise Earth would be a charred husk like Mercury. But the amount of energy that still reaches the surface--not the atmosphere, the surface--is enormous. And it can be captured with far less effort than it would take to deploy fusion here. There's no point in getting 100x as much energy for 10,000x as much effort.
As for space-based solar, it will work well for space-based applications, but it's a long way from commercialization and I think most governments that are doing it are doing it in the hopes that it will lead to other technological advances that will justify the research investment. Japan is the leader in the field (http://www.jspacesystems.or.jp/en_project_ssps/), and I certainly don't want to sell their efforts short, but they've got a long way to go. In fairness, it might make more sense for Japan than most other countries, simply because their geography is among the most hostile among Westernized nations to widespread deployment of terrestrial solar. Also, we know that Japan secretly wants to build skyscraper-sized death rays that unfold in impossibly complex fashions from remote mountaintop installations (accompanied by dramatic orchestral music), and they'll need more power than can be generated locally for that.
While the energy that reaches the surface is immense, so is the land area needed for the panels. Even if the 46% top end for BAT now becomes BPT soon, full efficiency is only 1,000 W/m2 under standard test conditions. Keep in mind that the theoretical best efficiency would really be 950 W/m2 so 50% is already pretty good engineering. Significant gains will get tougher. Then we take into account the energy to make all those square meters of panels, and that needed to clean and maintain them. Plus some of the materials are kind of rare.
We don't need 100% efficiency, though. We probably don't even need 50%. As I said above, cost-per-kWh is more important than pure efficiency because we have plenty of surface area outside of places like Manhattan (where a small amount of roof space might be asked to power a very large building). My office building is a converted factory with a footprint of about 100,000 sf, about 9,300m2. If 6000 square meters of its roof is usable for solar panels at 20% efficiency, that's 6000 x .2 x about 4 kWh/day of insolation (based on NREL map data):
In other words, about 4.8MWh/day. Nothing to sneeze at--if the price is right.
Not in the least. But they are expensive to build and also very expensive to maintain, particularly to keep clean. Also, if your building was still a factory, it would need a lot more.
Of course solar has a role, and an increasingly important one. But I don't see it ever becoming our dominant source of energy, except as a result of political constraints.
That's why some want to close them and they probably should be. They and the area near the 105th Red Line stop prove that transit is not enough to jump start a neighborhood.
Van Dorn dominated that area and when they shut down, a lot of ancillary activity was lost too. Orlando expanded some but chemicals and foundry sand limited them.
Plus, E. 79th itself has somewhat of a bad rep since the Hough riots started at 79th and Hough. Yes, I know that's far from there, but not everyone does.
An extensive roadway network isn't enough to sustain or jump start a neighborhood either.
I doubt many remember the details of the Hough riot. And if the bad rep of the Hough riots was a factor, Cleveland Clinic never would have stayed in the area and invested billions since then. The clinic is closer to East 79th/Hough than the area of 79th between the two rail lines. And furthermore, if you've spent anytime in the area of East 79th/Hough, it bears little resemblance to the neighborhood which existed in the summer of 1966.
Only in recent years has any effort been made to attract investment to the area near the East 105th Red Line station but the juvenile justice center is surely more of a hindrance to development than not. The only entrance to the Red Line station was on Quincy, facing the juvenile justice center. Fortunately, a second entrance will be added, this time on 105th to tap into development south of the Clinic as more offices are built there to avoid traffic in the heart of UC and so that suburban workers will have an easy car-oriented escape from work.
"Rep" means perception and that's what IMO still holds 79th back, even though as you say 79th and Hough is extremely different now. They even took down the green, red, and black flag down from by the obelisk.
Good point about the juvy center, one thinks of it being further away (93rd) but it's so big it impacts that area too. Though I am not sure 105th is much better until the OC goes through. Even a Google Maps trip down the street (no, I did not sign the side of the "PNG Supermarket" lol) makes it clear that not too many Clinic employees are going to be too interested in even taking a shuttle ride that way.
To further encourage people to make the connection between north and south Liberty, the studio class is creating an art installation informed by the research they’ve conducted with neighborhood residents at community meetings. “Pleasant Street Alternative Steps” will be a public art infographic that combines the sentiments of pedestrians about the future of their neighborhood with photographs of their feet. Printed on street wrap slip-proof vinyl, the installation will serve as a path marking the way between Findlay Market and Washington Park.
"Our intention with both the Field of Greens and Alternate Steps installations is to really activate the street,” says Hollstein. “It’s been exciting for the students to see the amount of effort it takes to create a genuine citizen-engagement-oriented planning initiative.” green boxes A garden of edible greens planted in recycled milk crates will line the Pleasant Street Wiffle ball field.
On July 11, Michael Zaretsky and the MetroLAB students will illustrate to neighbors what the pedestrian-friendly streetscape could look and feel like. This is the Saturday prior to the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, so it’s an opportune moment because both Findlay Market and Washington Park will see an increase in foot traffic from visitors to the city. Sections of the street will be closed to motorists, and MetroLAB will apply research gained from a community engagement event on June 5 to demonstrate options for encouraging pedestrian use of the corridor, such as seating, lighting, interactive art, food trucks or stalls and musical installations.