Solar energy is one of the most trending topics today. The world is moving quickly towards greener energy. Every day we get to hear about solar-powered devices, houses, airplanes (Yes, you heard us: airplanes!), and much more. With this, you might also be a little curious about the new star in the energy business. Well, worry no longer! We have gathered the top 20 facts about solar energy for you.
1. Solar Energy Costs Have Fallen by 99% Since 1977
Initially, the cost of solar installation used to be around $8/watt and above. However, less than a decade later, the prices have been reduced to only $3/watt with an estimation to become even cheaper in the upcoming years.
2. The Concept of Solar Energy Dates Back to the 7th Century
The concept of magnifying the sun’s rays to create fire dates back to the 7th century. There are traces of solar energy usage throughout history even though the solar panels themselves came into existence much later.
3. The First Solar Cell Was Invented in 1954
While the concept of photovoltaic effect dates back to 1839, the first silicon solar cell was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954. It marked the beginning of a cleaner and greener energy which has continued to grow ever since.
4. The Oil Crisis of 1970 Helped Push Solar Energy into the Forefront
The oil crisis helped people realize that relying solely upon fossil fuels was not a sustainable way to go. This realization propelled the research into alternative and long-lasting sources of energy, such as solar and wind energy.
5. We are Receiving Around 1366 watts of Direct Solar Radiation Per Square Meter
Solar energy is the most readily available form of energy on earth. Nearly 173,000 terawatts of solar energy are continuously hitting the earth’s surface.
6. Solar Energy Plants Can Last up to 40 Years and Above
Since the photovoltaic systems require no fuel and minimum maintenance, these cells can last between 25 to 40 years. These energy plants can thus be a great long-term investment.
7. China is Leading the World in Solar Energy
China has been leading the world in terms of solar installations since as early as 2013. In 2015, it was noted as the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic power. Similarly, in 2018, China held the world record for the largest operational solar project with its 1547 MW capacity.
Worldwide, following are the list of countries where solar energy is used the most.
8. Solar Panels Does Not Need Direct Sunlight to Work
The top concern with solar energy is usually about what happens on cloudy days or how efficient these lights can be during the night. However, with capable battery backup, this energy can be stored excellently. Moreover, these solar panels can still collect solar energy during cloudy days.
9. Solar Energy is Increasingly Versatile
The growing demand for green energy, coupled with increasing technological advancements, has made great leaps for solar energy. We can now find solar-powered water-heaters, floodlights, motion-detectors, solar lights, attic fans, pool covers, solar pond pumps, and much more. As solar energy grows more and more versatile, now we can find a solar-powered version of nearly every electrical appliance.
10. Creating Salt from Seawater is One of the Oldest Uses of Solar Energy
This method has been useful in treating wastewater for a very long time without using any electricity or chemicals.
11. Many Countries Use Solar Energy to Power their Space Mission
Solar energy has been utilized in the space sector since as early as 1950. The space industry has been harnessing solar energy to power their spaceships. The first artificial earth satellite Vanguard 1 still remains the oldest manmade satellite in orbit and was powered by solar cells.
12. By 2019, Over 2 Million Solar Systems were Installed in the USA
It took the solar industry nearly 40 years to get to 1 million installations. But the next million milestones were reached within just the next three years. Currently, it aims to hit 4 million installations by 2023.
13. California is Leading the USA in Terms of Solar Energy
In fact, California is home to the largest solar power plant in the world, the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, covering over 1000 acres. This plant has been active since 2014 and now has a gross capacity of 392 megawatts (MW). In 2017 alone, the state generated 20,163 MW of solar energy.
14. Solar Panels are Not Just Low-Maintenance but Need Next to No Maintainance
These panels are built to last for many years and only require occasional cleaning. The batteries don’t need to be replaced or serviced and can serve you for a long time.
15. A Fully Solar-Powered Airplane Already Took an Around-the-World Flight in 2016
In early 2016, the Solar Impulse 2 flew a plane powered solely by solar energy across the world. A Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard took flight from Abu Dhabi and made headlines regarding the potential of solar energy.
16. The Concept of Community Solar Power Exists
Many homeowners refrain from installing solar panels as they might be a hassle. However, since 2019 the concept of community solar power has begun. The idea is to install massive solar farms in one location in order to benefit an entire community. This idea has been most popular in four states, namely, California, Colorado. Minnesota and Massachusetts.
17. A fully Solar-Powered Home can Reduce CO2 Emissions by 100 Tons Within Just 30 Years
We are all aware that solar energy is clean energy but often forget to ask the exact numbers. With the use of solar energy, you are not adding any pollution into the environment, and simply by reducing the emissions generally produced, you can reduce your carbon footprint by quite a lot.
18. Solar Energy Pays for Itself in the Long Run
The initial investment is always a point of concern for potential buyers. However, when the overall lifespan of a solar panel is considered that too with next to no operational costs, solar energy actually pays for itself.
The average electricity bill in an American household is around $1300 annually. This can be reduced to a nearly negligible amount with a full implementation of solar power. Moreover, there are many incentives that different states provide in order to encourage solar energy usage, such as a 30% tax break.
19. The Switch to Solar Energy is Paramount to Meet Climate Goals
According to the report by the International Energy Agency, the continuous growth in the field of solar energy is necessary to limit global warming to 2°C.
20. Solar Panels Can Now Offer Much More than 20% Efficiency
Up until five years ago, solar panels boasted of a 17-18% efficiency. But as of 2019, companies like Tesla, SunPower, and Panasonic have started offering solar panels with up to 23% efficiency.
Table of Contents
- 1. Solar Energy Costs Have Fallen by 99% Since 1977
- 2. The Concept of Solar Energy Dates Back to the 7th Century
- 3. The First Solar Cell Was Invented in 1954
- 4. The Oil Crisis of 1970 Helped Push Solar Energy into the Forefront
- 5. We are Receiving Around 1366 watts of Direct Solar Radiation Per Square Meter
- 6. Solar Energy Plants Can Last up to 40 Years and Above
- 7. China is Leading the World in Solar Energy
- 8. Solar Panels Does Not Need Direct Sunlight to Work
- 9. Solar Energy is Increasingly Versatile
- 10. Creating Salt from Seawater is One of the Oldest Uses of Solar Energy
- 11. Many Countries Use Solar Energy to Power their Space Mission
- 12. By 2019, Over 2 Million Solar Systems were Installed in the USA
- 13. California is Leading the USA in Terms of Solar Energy
- 14. Solar Panels are Not Just Low-Maintenance but Need Next to No Maintainance
- 15. A Fully Solar-Powered Airplane Already Took an Around-the-World Flight in 2016
- 16. The Concept of Community Solar Power Exists
- 17. A fully Solar-Powered Home can Reduce CO2 Emissions by 100 Tons Within Just 30 Years
- 18. Solar Energy Pays for Itself in the Long Run
- 19. The Switch to Solar Energy is Paramount to Meet Climate Goals
- 20. Solar Panels Can Now Offer Much More than 20% Efficiency