Relating to questions such as how far from the sun can solar power be used as a reliable energy source

Myself and tildalwave had a brief discussion about a proposed standard so that all questions relating to solar energy can be answered and compared with eachother without the need for constant conversions or updates.

I propose we agree on some reasonable efficiency for solar cells for all such questions. Maybe it would be best to post a new Space Exploration Meta question, so we all can give our take on this, but I'm down to 1 bar of juice for the day, so I'll just propose it here - 50% efficiency. It's within reach of our technology, and when we surpass this, we can excuse it with in-time degrading performance or general availability. ;) – TildalWave 2 hours ago

I personally think this is a very good idea, setting a standard so that all users and answerers know where they stand. This also prevents the issue of having tens of different answers all basically saying the same thing just assuming different efficiencies.

Tildal's linked source of 50% seems agreeable, it a good midpoint, is a recent development and is likely to be talked about much more because of this.

I personally think that setting this standard will only do good things for the site. Any thoughts?


I'm going to suggest something far more general than the scope of the question. If we are trying to determine how good something can be, you should be able to point to a data source that shows how good something can be. For instance, if you are talking about lifting a rocket, you need an estimate of real engine ISPs. For solar array, real efficiency of solar panels, or at least those nearby.

If there is a slight difference of efficiencies, and that is the only difference in the answers, I would simply leave a comment on the answer that looks the best pointing them towards real efficiencies, and go from there.


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