Back of the envelope: is solar power feasible?

solar_panelsDr Buzzo has some interesting back of the envelope calculations concerning localised solar power generation. This kind of localised, renewable energy generation, is something that Greenpeace are pretty hot on:

Day by day the sun supplies 15,000 times the amount of the daily energy-demand of the total global population. In less than 30 minutes the sun sends more energy to our planet than is consumed in a whole year.

This certainly looks promising. Dr Buzzo looks at it from the other direction, by taking available data on the amount of solar energy available, the efficiency of solar panels etc, and looking at how much energy could be generated in his native Connecticut:

Reasonably speaking I