| Even if you get get 100% efficiency (and you can't) the MAXIMUM power
| you can get from 1 square meter of sunlight is ~100 watts.
Actually, sunlight is about 1000 watts/square meter at ground level at
the equator assuming no clouds or haze. Above our atmosphere but
still near the Earth, it's almost 1400 watts/m^2. You're off by a
factor of 10.
(You did say MAXIMUM and 100% efficiency, after all.)
This 1000 w/m^2 figure is for the equator, but as long as your solar
panel is directly facing the sun, you can still get most of that as
long as your latitude doesn't go too high (causing the sun to go
through lots and lots of atmosphere before it reaches you.)
100 watts per square meter is actually be a reasonable real-world
value (during bright sunlight, not the average), considering panels
that aren't pointed exactly into the sun and not being directly on the
equator. If everything is perfect, 150 watts/m^2 isn't unheard of --
but it does require that everything be just right.
| That's a lot of covering to get that kind of power. Take into
| account real world efficiencies and so on and you are looking at a
| pretty crappy power system for a sport RC plane, even if just to
| charge a flight pack.
If the solar cells were extremely light, it might work reasonably well
to keep a flight pack charged on a sunny day. But to power an
electric plane, you'd need a plane designed around this, and perfect
conditions -- and then it would barely fly. But it's been done, many
times. I think I've even seen solar powered ARF or kit planes!
Doug McLaren, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Bother," said Pooh as he pushed Christopher Robin into the quicksand.
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