In 2009, the world’s total electricity consumption was 20,279,640 GWh; in one hour, the sun creates more energy than this. The difficult part is collecting this energy and converting it into useful electricity with solar panels. How much area would have to be covered by solar panels to capture enough energy to meet global demand? Actually, it is not as much as one might think.

The image above presents three red boxes showing the area that should be covered for Germany (De), Europe (EU-25) and the world as a whole, referring to 2009 consumption.