Solar energy has been used for more than 2,700 years for heating, cooking, and other essential applications that make our lives more efficient. It’s obvious why the sun has been such an essential resource for humanity if its rays can heat our bodies while we’re just walking around outside, there must be other things we can do with it!
Yet, solar energy technology really only came into its own in 1954, when Bell Laboratories created the first commercially viable solar cell. Since then, solar power has leaped into prominence as the fastest-growing sector of the energy economy, creating jobs at six times the rate of the general job market. There are just so many advantages to using solar energy whenever and however possible.
Fun facts about Solar energy
- Solar energy has been used for over 2700 years. In 700 BC, glass lenses were used to make fire by magnifying the sun’s rays.
- 174,000 terawatts of energy consistently strike the earth as solar radiation at any moment, even on the cloudiest of days.
- The Greeks and Romans were the first to use passive solar designs. Buildings with south-facing windows allowed the sun to heat and light indoor spaces.
- In 1447, Leonardo Da Vinci predicted there would be industrial solar use. Using solar power to heat water.
- The first silicon solar cell, the precursor of all solar-powered devices, was built by Bell Labs in 1954.
- In the 1960s the space industry began to use solar technology to provide power aboard spacecraft. The Vanguard 1, the first artificial earth satellite powered by solar cells, remains the oldest manmade satellite in orbit, logging more than 6 billion miles.
- Photovoltaic cells were next widely used for small consumer electronics like calculators and watches. Many road and traffic signs also are now powered by PV. In most cases, PV power is the least expensive form of electricity for these tasks.
- The largest solar power plant is located in the Mojave Desert in California. The solar plant generates 90 percent of the world’s commercially produced solar power!
- More energy hits the earth from the sun in one hour than the whole world uses all year. If you’re a numbers person approximately 120,000 terawatts (TW) hit the earth’s surface each day. Over the course of a year, the world uses a mere 15 TW of energy.
- Estimates say that one square foot of solar panel gives an output of approximately 10 watts of power.
- Solar Energy is measured by the kilowatt hour. One kilowatt = 1000 watts.
- Solar energy produces no pollution when generating electricity. Using solar energy produces no air or water pollution and no greenhouse gases.
- Solar power is noise pollution-free. It has no moving parts and does not require any additional fuel, other than sunlight, to produce power.
- One kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy will burn a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.
- Solar energy is a very reliable source of energy. The sun shines every day without fail.
- When located on buildings, solar energy systems have minimal impact on the environment.
- It’s no secret that solar energy is the way to a more sustainable future. Solar panels can produce a 1-kilowatt (KW) solar energy unit to replace the equivalent of burning 170 pounds of coal and 300 pounds of carbon dioxide.
- Germany is known to be the leader in solar panel installations. The others on the top are Italy, Japan, and the USA.
- Solar energy is a 100% free energy source and is available in cornucopia. The sun is definitely 90 long million miles away from the earth, but it still only takes not even 10 complete minutes for sunlight to travel to earth.
- Solar insulation leads to the water cycle which is really important. It is due to solar radiation absorption by the earth, atmosphere, and oceans that their temperature increases. Warm air elevates from oceans which leads to convection. When the air reaches up, condensation of water vapor creates clouds which leads to rains that again bring water to the surface of the earth and complete the water cycle.
- Green plants use photosynthesis to convert solar energy into chemical energy that builds the biomass which composes the fossil fuels.
- Solar energy can help make brackish, potable, or saline water. It allows for dealing with wastewater without any use of chemicals or electricity. Further, the energy is also used to create salt from seawater for years.
- Solar panels are virtually maintenance-free as the battery does not require water or other regular service and will last for years. Once solar panels are installed, there are no recurring costs.
- Clothes can be dried in the sun using clotheslines, cloth racks, etc.
- Food can be cooked, dried, or pasteurized using solar energy.
- Solar chimneys are passive solar ventilation systems. Shafts connect the interior and exterior of the building. The functioning can be improved by glazing and using thermal mass materials.
- Solar energy is the cheapest source of energy in the world as of 2017.
- Solar energy is cheaper than fossil fuels as of 2019.
- China is the world leader in solar energy generation.
- The United States is the third-largest solar energy market and generator in the world.
- California generates the most solar energy in the United States.
- More than 260,000 people worked in the solar energy industry in 2016.
- Solar energy users save up to 35 tons of carbon dioxide and 75 million barrels of oil each year.
- Alexandre Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839.
- Russell Ohl created the first photovoltaic cell in 1941.
- Over 2 million solar panel systems have been installed in the U. S. alone.
- Homeowners experience “break-even” on their solar panel installation in under a decade.
- Solar panels are the fastest energy source to set up.
- Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to generate electricity.
- To power the whole earth with solar energy, it would require 191,000 square miles of solar panels.
- In 30 years, the average rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tons of carbon dioxide.
- The average solar panel has a 25-year warranty.
- The most efficient solar panels are made from monocrystalline silicon.
- The city government of Las Vegas, NV operates on 100% renewable energy from solar panels.
- The average solar panel system operates at 20% efficiency, meaning that it converts 20% of the sunlight that hits it into electricity.
Solar energy helps transform solar energy into various other forms such as electrical energy to fulfill global demands. At present, around 10% of global energy requirements are provided by solar energy, with the future potential being really strong.