What If We Covered the Sahara With Solar Panels?

Start learning complex topics simply for 20% off by being one of the first 200 to sign up at Brilliant.org/reallifelore

Please Subscribe: bit.ly/2dB7VTO​​

Select video clips courtesy of Getty Images

Select video clips courtesy of AP Archive




  • I think India can also do it in the thar, as all of it is not really covered with sand everywhere

    4 rp4 rp4 uur geleden
  • Well, let's remember that solar panels by themselves giving us nothing if we can't accumulate it ( energy that is) and regulate it fluency, and this probably would cause a lethal ecological issues, and of course get the cost of all of that system up like few times i guess

    Valerij MysnykValerij Mysnyk8 uur geleden
  • The expiration date of solar panels, their maintenance and replacement costs make this plan quite impossible 😬

    Gabriel de Jesus SilvaGabriel de Jesus Silva10 uur geleden
  • The oil-rich idiots who live in that regions could continue beeing assholes after the oil is gone or not importent anymore. And that because the west is figureing out something new, again.

    isabella aragonisabella aragon13 uur geleden
  • For a second I thought it said “what if we covered the Sahara with solar penis”

    CurlyFriesCurlyFriesDag geleden
  • The biggest challenge of all would be to find a way to deal with the dust. The dunes are always shifting, meaning most of your work will become covered in sand long before you ever get any real progress done.

    EnnovativeEnnovativeDag geleden
  • Some people have WAYYYY too much wasted time ,,

    Robert E LeeRobert E LeeDag geleden
  • What if we built a giant solar farm in space and somehow connect it to Earth?

    Jonathan SchroederJonathan SchroederDag geleden
  • This is honestly an idea that I have thought about almost every day for close to two years now. I think it's honestly the single best way to limit pollution and climate change.

    SnowHawk7SnowHawk7Dag geleden
  • I would certainly expect a currently unknown global environmental impact when we cover the entire Sahara with solar panels, or most rooftops for that matter, no question about that.

    Dutch GerbieDutch GerbieDag geleden
  • Theyd get buried in sand

    The Duchy Of MilanballThe Duchy Of MilanballDag geleden
  • Is Brilliant in Spanish as well?

    Jonny Hernández GuzmánJonny Hernández GuzmánDag geleden
  • The manufacturing of the solar panels is not calculated, the panels require toxic treatment with chemicals and the raw materials require mining to extract with rare earths as the most optimal panels aren't designed for mass production. The heat rise around solar farms are an issue. My research viewing is the modern advances of Fission Nuclear Reactors and the latest in Fusion technology. Nuclear is the answer and with Micro, Small Modular, Thorium Molten Salt Reactors on the horizon, this is the answer for the human race and the only answer, if the climate change community wants a deadline set then the Nuclear Lobby must've advised them as it is only achievable by embracing Nuclear Energy entirely and fully, with Molten Salt as a Moderator and Energy Storage medium.

    Plux AuAgPlux AuAg2 dagen geleden
  • There is a lot of landmass around the world; where freshwater is a rare commodity. Desalination of seawater is extremely power-consuming why not use this method in order to stabilize and control the power-grid in these countries. Another important challenge; our poles are melting too fast, which means trillions of cubic meters of ice/freshwater are added to the world's oceans. We all know the salt level in water determines the floating-point; take the Gulfstream as an example; try to consider the Gulfstream as a dynamo; if you alter with the floating-point you are also altering with the speed of the dynamo. The Gulfstream is sending x600,000 the amount of energy made by man in Europe up from the southern hemisphere; if you are changing the Gulfstream, you are changing the weather/climate pattern into something our children of tomorrow wouldn't fancy. This is why I take the liberty to recommend the desalination of seawater performed with renewable sources, and they can take all the seawater they want; we can even start growing more threes in barren lands. This was a long story short; and yes I'm well aware in real life this needs to be specified in detail.

    KMA ThistedKMA Thisted2 dagen geleden
  • Can you stop using the word colonisation so loosely and carelessly? Also the word conquer when you speak about vast lands and continents of the world. I like your channel and I’m African but I cringe when I hear you use these terms so recklessly.

    Zakariye Aw NurZakariye Aw Nur2 dagen geleden
  • You’re giving the western governments a lot of reason to plunder North Africa lol

    TheDCGuitar13TheDCGuitar132 dagen geleden
  • I'd drive a monster truck over that shit so god damn quick, yall don't even know...

    Gorilla CheeksGorilla Cheeks2 dagen geleden
  • Some asshole just nukes it

    TYE_rannosaurus RexTYE_rannosaurus Rex2 dagen geleden
  • This just looks like a new way Europe can exploit Africa for its resources. Ofc it claims that it will be purchasing the excess but who says that North African governments would actually abide by that and who's to say the EU wouldn't accept a cheap deal for solar energy by collaborating with the corrupt institutions. Overtime it'll become glaringly obvious that the solar farms in the Sahara power Europe. Private security personnel would be stationed there to prevent any sabotage by the African populace who may be upcharged for using solar energy produced by their own nations. Fossil fuel becomes a cheaper source of energy for the increasing numbers of poor people. Media will highlight how it's developing countries fault for the remaining emissions and demonize them for it. All while rich corrupt African systems reap the benefits of neo-colonialism and Europe continues to save face and be the beacon of innovation and prosperity to the world....this might be a very cynical take but considering International Relations and the historic relationship between Africa and Europe for the past 700 years I wouldn't be surprised if this were to happen. If this idea or any idea were to be conducted in developing countries a top down approach should not be an option. Limited, public and open interactions only. But that's not profitable for anybody so they won't do it

    T.uYI -KANAT.uYI -KANA2 dagen geleden
  • "Clouds pretty much never form or even exist over the entire desert". Wow, next time you should really take some of those courses at Brilliant, because you lack basic geography knowledge...

    Mr. LoveGoodMr. LoveGood3 dagen geleden
  • He's the thing, the panels would melt due to temperature, terrain is ideal when it's plane and we would loose way to much energy due to transmission. The best areas for solar panels aren't necessarily the ones with most solar incidence.

    Daniel TeixeiraDaniel Teixeira3 dagen geleden
  • This video inspired my summer project and the video is on my channel. I come up with a city concept and power core building design. Unfortunately I'm not that good at science and engineering so it's likely just an idea. It would be more than big enough to store large quantities of electricity and should be able to generate a large amount and it is scalable by design. Hailee's Heart stands at a height of 2500 metres but there is no reason why it can't be 1250m 0r 5000m.

    LDCLDC3 dagen geleden
  • If the desert inhabitants were smart they would do the opposite of Native Americans - lawyer up and get max value for piece of their sandbox. Don’t just give away for sake of environmentalism

    Land of SmilezLand of Smilez3 dagen geleden
  • Maybe we could get other countries in on it, the same way the US built the Panama Canal

    Jack KirkesJack Kirkes3 dagen geleden
  • I'm more interested in the existence of ancient ruins hidden under the sand.

    Payton WPayton W4 dagen geleden
  • You would need to be able to store and transport the energy though lol

    Bertie ChaosBertie Chaos4 dagen geleden
  • and of course the continuous failure to persuade people towards centralised government doesn't at all encourage commercialism at all. ...?

    BeatitudesBeatitudes4 dagen geleden
  • I say go ahead with the EU requirements first because for example if you went ahead with the world's requirements first it would prove Europeans actually knew what they were doing when they created the UN which of course wouldn't be a good example of the importance of debated opinion and help the third world, no

    BeatitudesBeatitudes4 dagen geleden
  • Do the Africans approve this by giving electronically to Europe? 🤔

    Jav BJav B4 dagen geleden
  • Skip to 9 minutes to 9 minutes 30 seconds waste of time other wise 30 seconds of educational content

    Jugainka TiegaJugainka Tiega4 dagen geleden
  • If you make the solar panels as part of a self-replicating 3D printer complex you could have them grow exponentially. The panels would collect sunlight and melt sand to make more panels, and grow in number: 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1k 2k 4k 8k 16k 32k 64k 128k 256k 512k 1M etc... until they fill up all of africa in about 40 generations of doubling.

    Alex aoeu256Alex aoeu2565 dagen geleden
  • That would be so awesome if it were pulled off. Imagine being able to power the whole world's energy needs without negatively impacting the environment from a source that's been providing us all this unused energy anyways. For once we'd actually be able to give to the world without the world getting screwed over. EDIT: Finished watching the video.........DAMNIT!!!! -_-

    Mr. MMr. M5 dagen geleden
  • Isn't this the scene from the movie fools gold? Where was the civil war iron clad ship?

    Jeffrey SchneiderJeffrey Schneider5 dagen geleden
  • In unicorn world everything beaurifffuuulll.

    Donald ClémentDonald Clément5 dagen geleden
  • europe: we dont care about people we just need electricity and your money

    Superior ChickenSuperior Chicken5 dagen geleden
  • What if every house had a aolar panel?

    Marko ŠimićMarko Šimić5 dagen geleden
  • I love these kind of thought experiments, but unfortunately it would require humanity to come together for a common interest. In reality, people are self-interested and isolationists would rise as leaders to corrupt the process and demand their cut of any profits to be made. Even if we turned over entire industries to dedicate toward this project, ppl would revolt and say “screw the planet, I want my freedom and riches.”

    Cam StewartCam Stewart6 dagen geleden
  • Sandstorm is a big disadvantage.

    Jhasster josh MantuaJhasster josh Mantua6 dagen geleden
  • One of the things to keep in mind is that yes, the solar panels are not 100% and may only be around 25-35%. However, considering they could supply additional energy and reduce the strain on the other energy sources...it's still a win.

    John SnowshoeJohn Snowshoe7 dagen geleden
  • the sun will lose energy if it happens :/

    Lego On Blitz YTLego On Blitz YT7 dagen geleden
  • The costs of maintaining them after desert storms would be too expensive

    cyberfennekcyberfennek7 dagen geleden
  • Why don't yall offer up land somewhere else. Africa's already pirated natural resources do enough!

    IamJesusWalksIamJesusWalks7 dagen geleden
  • I don't care how much Africa benefits. Until all European countries take their grip off of all Africa countries, including African nations paying them obscene amounts of money, none of the countries in Africa should consider this commitment!

    IamJesusWalksIamJesusWalks7 dagen geleden
  • i do work in green energy. i am familiar with the tech here. i love this idea. Dubai is doing this. Saudi is doing this. The biggest problem is the sand. sand storms to be specific. most units in the desert need to be reinforced with a sand shield to keep this shit out of the components. it makes it difficult to keep it out of moving parts. Which means.... men are required to clean the panels pretty much daily. even if we came up with an automated wiping system...it would still need men to clean the dust out of the moving parts. It will always be a bit expensive labor and part wise. However....the power potential is just goofy.

    MPlainMPlain7 dagen geleden
  • The Sahara desert may seem useless but let's not forget we did not carve it out , Nature Did and for that reason you best believe that covering it up would have huge consequences on the World's climate, we may not see it now but that desert has a very important purpose

    Brian MwauraBrian Mwaura7 dagen geleden
  • Stream SOLAR POWER by Lorde

    Ulysses Ortega SilvaUlysses Ortega Silva7 dagen geleden
  • How about creating the solar panels around the sahara to cut down the price of transport and i would guess that the price would dropp even more because of the cheap labor in africa... Would be possible if we want it.

    KreismakerKreismaker7 dagen geleden
  • sandy

    aerosquifaerosquif8 dagen geleden
  • Sheeeeeeeesh . Let’s just go with the plan around the Sahara desert . Here’s my 5$ donation

    JoceyVDVJoceyVDV8 dagen geleden
  • Nice

    Ger 13 NunYahGer 13 NunYah8 dagen geleden
  • WOW! Amazing ... And why not?

    Livia NegidiusLivia Negidius8 dagen geleden
  • how about putting solar pannels in the hottest planet in the solar system. or solar panels in space

    snipclip yaminsnipclip yamin8 dagen geleden
  • The first add i got for this vid was a solar panel ad

    Jackson BerresJackson Berres8 dagen geleden
  • They will get dusty and stop working. We would have to supply massive amounts of water to keep them clean. This is sorta like an Atlantropa situation.

    TheRedPandaGamerTheRedPandaGamer8 dagen geleden
  • I honestly don't see why this is a bad idea 🤷🏿‍♂️

    Luis DejesusLuis Dejesus8 dagen geleden
  • You'd kill anything that flew over that area and there are birds that migrate over it

    AROG1104AROG11049 dagen geleden
  • Pardon me, mzungu... But who is this "We" you speak of? How about you just stop sucking up all the resources? What is this constant demand you have for power over nature?

    Mr. GolsteinMr. Golstein9 dagen geleden
  • African countries: We are the most poor countries in the world :( World: *Put solar panels in Africa Africa: I AM SPEED RUNNING GLOBAL ECONOMY LEARDBOARD WOOOOOOO

    NoobDePerúNoobDePerú9 dagen geleden
  • Completely impossible to even do this, given the sand storms these panels won't last 6 months before been buried or damaged

    Josh KerriganJosh Kerrigan9 dagen geleden
  • Good for Morocco for taking the initiative. Quick info search Wikipedia;- 33% (and rising) of the Earth's land surface is dry desert. Only 25% of the Sahara is erg, or sand dunes;- 75% is stony and gravel. If there is no infrastructure in Saharan countries .... Could that be because there is no commercial interest (yet) ? A few comments here relate to the technology. Well , maybe have a peek at the technology involved in the oil industry,? or nuclear power? We've been blessed with a nuclear fusion reactor that has been going for 4.6 billion years, is stable , and is a safe 150 million km away. let's talk about solar-thermal rather than Photo-electric panels for large scale powerplants. So we are not talking about $1k for a hi-tech panel transported from China, we are talking about aluminium backed mirrors that could be produced locally. Also, when we put solar panels on our rooftops, then yes, we want efficiency because we have a limited space. But efficiency ought not to be such an issue when space is not much of an issue. As for the capitalistic oligarchs who object because they don't see a return on their bucks because of political instabilities, well, good. Carry on as you are. In the meantime, smarter folk will see the opportunities for investment and development in a non-colonialist, non militaristic way. I am heartened to see on the current news that the USA is taking a paradigm shift in it's foreign policies, but my bets are on Europe, China, and Pacific Rim countries, and ,not least, the Arab League.. at least as the Sahara is concerned. I am sure that the vast majority of Europeans, like myself, would be more than delighted to have a significant proportion of our energy requirements met by a developing North Africa. Lets have a new player in the game.

    Andrew ForrestAndrew Forrest9 dagen geleden
  • Biased.... Thinking of building things in Africa to export to Europe😞 you people are still thinking that way

    Dumisile NdebeleDumisile Ndebele9 dagen geleden
  • Just play factorio

    ImadImad9 dagen geleden
  • It would probably be stolen and sold

    Jayham Nash AvancenaJayham Nash Avancena9 dagen geleden
  • Solar panels do not belong everywhere on earth because I think it is not always respectful to nature (whatever place it is).

    Lajos I.Lajos I.10 dagen geleden
  • Sahara an Arabic word means Desert It's full name is Al-Sahra' Al-kubra, and that means the greatest desert

    Firas AtefFiras Atef10 dagen geleden
  • Video starts at 6:39

    Yohan RagoonathYohan Ragoonath10 dagen geleden
  • I don’t know how sahara dust is fertile at all. All I know is that it worsens air quality, causes MORE heat to concentrate in an area. The only good thing I can see is that it prevents huge hurricanes from forming.

    Natalia E. LópezNatalia E. López10 dagen geleden
  • Energy in Africa being used for the benefit of European countries…. How surprising.

    Lu Thang 089Lu Thang 08910 dagen geleden
  • If every nation/state would participate with its 60% of annual GDP, this whole idea would become reality.

    Eljesa KabashiEljesa Kabashi10 dagen geleden
  • How the hell do you transfer solar energy from the Sahara, across the ocean, to the United States?

    GordonGordon10 dagen geleden
  • As soon as I clicked this video I got spammed with solar panel ads 😔

    chill boichill boi10 dagen geleden
  • The sun will need to wear shades if we do that.

    Apophis STRApophis STR10 dagen geleden
  • The maths used here is.. not great. I like this channels topics but $1000 a panel is absurd and comparing it to rooftop solar is also nonsense.

    Ethan WelnerEthan Welner11 dagen geleden
  • With that many you could do that for £70 per panel

    Gary GreenGary Green11 dagen geleden
  • Let's build a Dyson sphere instead.

    aulisaulis11 dagen geleden
  • Just imagine if I put 1000 Euro worth of stocks in Desertic Eumenz in just a period of 30 years I would be a billionaire

    Mwangi KiarieMwangi Kiarie11 dagen geleden
  • Never happen too many caravans and rebel groups plus,would create havoc migratory birds

    WindTurbineSyndromeWindTurbineSyndrome11 dagen geleden
  • Don't worry, you're not the only one who sat up when he said "Fertilized by sand"

    TheMaristBoyTheMaristBoy11 dagen geleden
  • I see a unsolvable problem : The whole world including the major powers is 100 % energy dependable from North Africa and cross-border infrastructure - WW3 starts next day !

    Krum St.Krum St.11 dagen geleden

    Douglas PiresDouglas Pires11 dagen geleden
  • About Dust ... Desert for shure produces a LOT of Dust !!

    Rui SantosRui Santos11 dagen geleden
  • ON the other end ... MAINTNANCE ... 1- Cleaning Dust ** Solar panels require "permanent dust cleaner" as the dust over it reduces significantly the energy produced. So, the maintenance to square kms of solar panels will require a "dust cleaner" that need to be soft no to damage the panels ( the best would be water which in the desert is short anyway ...) ... and a way to "automatize the cleaning" because doing it manually would require a massive quantity of labour. 2- Regulators - In the maintnance part, we are talking as well in "bateries" and "massive amperage resistance" regulators ... 3- Bateries ... The charge /Discharge cicle ... How many cicles are we talking about ? All this requires a very well done logistic system to "change the bateries in within certain time frame" ... 4- In what bateries is concerned, we have another issue which have to do the simulataneouly charging cicle ... When in a batch of lets say 32 bateries, one have a problem, when we replace it, the other 31 start having a strange behavious ... Is this solve ??

    Rui SantosRui Santos11 dagen geleden
  • One curiosity ... Solar panels produce DC energy. When DC energy. Generally these DC energy is STORED in Bateries... Bateries have a life time of charge/discharge which is relatively short ... Then, the DC power to be usable need to be converted into AC ... The conversion process provoque a loss of around 25% of the energy... THEN ... Transport of the energy ?? How is the energy transported to "long distances" ?? Today the transport of energy to long distances in AC is done in High voltages ... How is this done when the source is DC ?? Edison in the eighties LOST the energy battle to TESLA technology EXCTLY BECAUSE of the "transport part" that required fat cables and other devices in a radius of around every km... SO ... The only diference between Edison time and what is beeing talked here is the "source of the DC energy" ... So ... HOW !!!

    Rui SantosRui Santos11 dagen geleden
  • Solar is a scam because the panels are made in China! It’s like windmills! It’s all used to spy on you!

    Ron JakowskiRon Jakowski11 dagen geleden
  • Instant terrorist target

    Doggieman1111Doggieman111111 dagen geleden
  • No one can just create something for African only ryt...

    Thembela IIVThembela IIV11 dagen geleden
  • Please do xour math right 173000*12=2076000 per years , which would mean that the solar panels wouldn't produce enough for all our needs especially not the absurt number of 7times the amount.

    Haremking 001Haremking 00111 dagen geleden
  • what about the sand storms??????

    Victor JosephVictor Joseph11 dagen geleden
  • we have global warming killing an unknown amount of creatures under the sand. and one sand storm would put the goofy idea under the sand along with the dead things.

    on the far sideon the far side12 dagen geleden
  • Since the panels are made of silicone we won't need to pay for materials.

    Test AccountTest Account12 dagen geleden
  • I fear it would be like the Middle East controlling the oil.

    Dave BakerDave Baker12 dagen geleden
  • They would be stolen and sold off, like the farm equipment in South Africa when the land was stolen from the farmers and given away. Then they complained they couldn't operate the farms after they sold all of the equipment and scrapped all of the electrical wiring out of the farm houses. Not to mention the impact on local wild life as well...

    Pork Chop Filter ProductionsPork Chop Filter Productions12 dagen geleden
    • How did those farmers get the land in the first place?

      keith landokeith lando3 uur geleden
  • You forget one key thing.. it's to secluded.. Sand storms. Who's gonna work and clean there? Plus it's in africa the most unstable continent of the world.. nobody gonna invest in that! Not even their own goverments.

    giovanni petersgiovanni peters12 dagen geleden
  • We could direct the reflection of the Sahara solar panels to heat up mars.

    KurzawaKurzawa12 dagen geleden
  • Africa never seemed richer.. :O

    Sushniv VangariSushniv Vangari12 dagen geleden
  • I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE SOLAR PANELS, but rumour had it that witches live in the sand and are commonly known as “Sand Witches”

    Matthew BulicMatthew Bulic12 dagen geleden
  • Why would we cover an ecosystem instead of putting solar out in space in orbit? No clouds in space... or storms

    kthomasauskthomasaus12 dagen geleden
  • nice

    MikeMike12 dagen geleden

    The cake is a lieThe cake is a lie12 dagen geleden
  • We'd be a type 2 civilization if we did this.

    SuperpronooberSuperpronoober12 dagen geleden