21 Solar Energy Facts You'll Be Amazed By
Updated: Jun 14, 2018
Everyone knows that solar energy is the energy from the sun right? But you may not know that the free solar energy has the potential to power our entire world. And with the consumption of non-renewable resources like oil and natural gas increasing, scientists and engineers are working diligently to find new ways to harness solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Here’s a fun fact to put solars potential in perspective; more energy falls on the earth in one hour than the entire world uses in a year. Right now, people are going solar every day and taking advantage of most abundant source of energy available. And if that’s not convincing, here’s 21 more solar facts for you.
21 Solar Energy Facts Everyone Should Know
Solar is the most abundant source of energy on the planet. It doesn’t produce any pollutants and provides the same power as your local utility company.
Solar panels, often called photovoltaic panels (PV), are made from different types of silicone and work to capture the radiant heat and light from the sun before converting them into usable electricity.
Solar energy is a critical part of our rain cycles. Solar energy heats up our oceans and atmosphere causing water and condensation to rise into the air creating rain clouds. Then the rain falls, waters food and eventually works its way back to the ocean.
The Government is currently offering a 30% tax credit to anyone who goes solar before December 2019.
China currently owns the world's largest solar farm, Tengger Desert Soar Park, which produces 1500 MW of energy. They also own the second and fourth largest solar farms in the top five.
Solar power is measured in kW just like the electricity you get from the power company.
Since there’s no moving parts and very little wear and tear, solar panels require little to no maintenance after they’re installed - aside from an occasional cleaning.
Most California homes consume about 7,000 kWh per year at $0.152 per kWh which costs them roughly $1,064 per year from the electric company. Switching to solar can make a big dent in this cost saving you hundreds of dollars.
Solar can power your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many owners are concerned about what would happen at night. Fortunately, there’s solar energy storage devices that are essentially batteries which store power during the day and keep your house powered all night.
In 2016, solar power became the cheapest source of energy in the world. The cost of building and installing a solar electricity system dropped to $1.65 per watt beating out both wind and fossil fuels.
Solar companies offer varying warranties on their systems which can range from 5 years to 25 years (SunPower offers 25 yrs). Some warranty only the panels and others warranty the whole installation for the duration.
Solar panel efficiency has increased, for some panels, to over 20% and SunPower is one of the most efficient (review).
Solar panels don’t have to be installed on your roof, or even at your house. They can be installed on the ground, on your RV, and in California, solar communities are catching on. Solar communities are communities with large solar installations that let the whole community draw power for their homes.
In 2016 a solar powered plane flew around the entire world. It took them 505 days and the plane traveled at an average speed of 45 miles per hour, but Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg made the trip and showed what's possible.
Solar is completely renewable. When compared to things like fracking which releases harmful methane gas into the atmosphere, destroys millions of gallons of water, leaks extremely toxic chemicals into the drinking water supply, increases the chance of oil spills and may cause earthquakes - sustainable and renewable is a huge improvement.
Solar panels DO work on cloudy days. While they may not work at full strength, they’ll still produce between 10-25% of their capacity. And if you use more than that, your battery will kick in with the stored energy from prior days.
The price of solar is dropping every year which has led to over 60% of all U.S. solar panel installations occuring in just the last 3 years.
Contrary to popular belief, hot climates don’t increase solar panel efficiency. Since solar panels work on the sun's light rays, and not the sun's heat, high temperatures can actually reduce the efficiency.
Most TV satellites in space are powered by solar panels.
For temporary events such as fairs, mining towns and even the Olympics, solar energy is the preferred mode of power.
Solar power can be used for more than just powering your home. It's been used to cook food, sterilize surgical instruments and even power refrigerators.
If you’re on the fence about going solar, just remember this: you’re saving money and the environment. When compared to the forms of energy most of us currently use (natural gas, oil, etc.) it's clear that solar is the solution our future generations need if we want them to experience a cleaner world.