How Many Solar Laps Does it Take to Make A Lump of Coal?

Spindletop was America's first great oil field. It surpassed oil production of the entire world within weeks.

Let’s talk about progress, specifically, energy progress. I’ll use a little analogy to help illustrate the concept.

Many years ago, I lived in Bloomington, Indiana. In Spring of 1996, the week before the Indianapolis 500, a friend asked, “Would you like to go to Time Trials at the Indianapolis Speedway?” We took a picnic lunch and sat just behind the pits. It was the same day Arie Luyendyk set a single time trial lap record of 239 miles per hour. Arie was travelling around a 2.5 mile oval track in less than forty seconds. You can hear and feel the cars well before you can see them, and they blast by in the blink of an eye. That’s fast, but it pales in comparison to the speed at which you are now travelling!

Every year, our earth travels in a five hundred fifty million mile lap around the sun. That’s about 60,000 miles an hour (-ish), or 1,000 miles a minute. Are you with me so far?

Now let’s talk about electricity. A great deal of electricity is generated by burning coal. Do you know how many laps around the sun it takes for the earth to make coal? According to, about three hundred million of them. That’s three hundred million times five hundred fifty million miles. Obviously, it takes a long time for photosynthesis, heat, time & pressure to do its magic!

A solar panel can convert sunlight to electricity … real-time. Now do you understand why solar Photovoltaic technology is making the big utilities nervous?

It’s called progress.

Get it?

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