To power one 787 Dreamliner with solar panels would require 380 acres of solar panels on a bright, sunny day. That’s the equivalent size of 16 two mile long runways worth of solar panels but the solar powered Dreamliner couldn’t fly at night. On a a cloudy day or when it’s raining or snowing more solar panels would be needed because the unreliable solar panels don’t work as well when the sun isn’t shining but even worse. They don’t work so well over the poles or at the higher latitudes such as Canada, Europe, sub-equatorial Africa, South America or Australia. At those latitudes or higher even more solar panels would be needed as the panels are’t at the proper angle needed to work at 100%. When the output is diminished by 50% such as on a cloudy day 8 or more two mile runways of solar panels are needed. Of course the weight would require even more solar panels so the solar panel powered Dreamliner couldn’t get off the ground. The whole idea of solar panels being reliable, efficient, low-cost alternatives to power plants run by fossil fuels is plain wrong. Solar panels are not good alternatives to power most things. One horse couldn’t carry enough weight to carry one horsepower worth of solar cells.
Solar panels just can’t match the power of a good old kerosene powered jet engine. And because the power of a solar cell powered Dreamliner would shut off at night, flying a solar powered Dreamliner would be fatal after sunset. Complete and probably fatal engine failure would happen every night. What about powering something like the first aircraft invented and built by the Wright brothers? That was 12 horsepower. Nope. the solar panels would take up more area than the two wings and would be too heavy for the Wright Flyer to lift.
It’s rather silly to think about using solar panels to power a Dreamliner but it makes the case that solar power is useless to power an extremely light aircraft like the Wright Flyer.
In fact solar panels are unreliable for power in most places. They can be used to power light bulbs or to charge banks of batteries on sunny days but solar panels are not able to power a civilian aircraft. Solar panels are even worse when the aircraft is a military fighter and much, much worse for a bomber.
How about using solar panels to power a car? Nope. Here’s why.
The smallest engine available for a 2016 Toyota Camry is 178 horsepower.
That would require about a half acre of solar panels. That would require 58 car lengths of road to power one Toyota.
Solar panels cannot be used to power cars or aircraft. Nor can they power a truck or a bus. Keep in mind that a solar powered car cannot run at night.
Sure the power from solar panels can be used to charge batteries but not at night. That’s part of the reason the so called electric cars need a huge battery.
Electric cars should be called oil powered battery cars because they need a huge electric generating power plant to make the electricity that’s needed to charge the batteries and electric power plants are mostly powered by oil, coal or natural gas. A Toyota Prius not only needs oil at the power plant to make electricity, it needs miles of wires and thousands of poles to hold up the wires to deliver the electricity to a charging station. In fact, there are no electric cars because electricity can’t be used to make electricity. Electricity needs oil, coal, natural gas or nuclear fuel to make electricity to charge up the batteries on a Prius. All of those processes are terribly less efficient than a gasoline or diesel engine and making electricity wastes oil or gas if the electricity is used to power a Prius because a gas engine is far more efficient and uses power better than a Prius because the gas engine makes far better use of the power than the Prius.
For the environmentalists who want to drive a Prius do the job right and install solar panels to make the electricity to charge the batteries but what will you do when the sun don’t charge your solar cells. Either ride a bike or walk.