How many solar panels could be installed with the cost of a nuclear power plant?



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    Since 2008, new nuclear power plants in the United States have costs anywhere from $9.8 to 14 billion dollars to build.  This is the typical cost for a new plant that runs dual pressurized water reactors built to U.S. safety regulations.

    A 5 kilowatt system of polycrystalline silicon solar panels (the most common type sold) costs on average $40,000 dollars and generally consists of 15 panels. This calculates out to roughly $2667 dollars per panel.

    For easy calculation we’ll say the average U.S. nuclear plant costs $10 billion dollars.  With $10 billion dollars, the price of a nuclear plant, you could purchase 3,749,531 solar panels.  That would be 249,968 5 kW generating solar systems.  The nuclear plant worth of solar panels would create 1,249,840 kW of power, that’s more than one terrawatt of power.  One terrawatt of power could power 10 billion 100 watt light bulbs at once.  These are rough estimates, but they give an idea of just how much money a nuclear plant costs and that same money’s potential in solar panels.

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