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Current solar income

The current solar income of the Earth, or an ecozone or ecoregion or even a smaller unit (such as a hectare or square meter) of Earth, is the amount of solar energy that falls on it as sunlight.

This is thought important in some branches of green economics, as the ultimate measure of renewable energy.

Buckminster Fuller first described the concept in his 1970 paper Cosmic Costing, contrasting the photosynthesis on which natural capital and sustainable infrastructural capital depend, and the chemosynthesis of extracting and using fossil fuels, on which economics has come to depend as a baseline assumption.

Paul Hawken is a more recent advocate of the concept, and views it as central to his notion of a restorative economy. It remains a popular notion among those who believe that toxic waste and maintenance problems of solar energy devices can ultimately be overcome, or that yields of passive or biological means of gathering and using this energy can be made to approximate those of fossil fuels.

See also: food chain