Solar power is the future of energy production. The consumption of non-renewable energy such as coal, oil, and natural gas, is unsustainable, and solar offers an alternative. Because education inspires change, here are 25 interesting facts about solar power, ranging from the basic to the less widely known.
- Solar power uses the natural energy of the sun to produce electricity. It is sustainable and renewable.
- Every square meter of our planet receives around 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation.
- Coal plants are the largest producers of carbon emissions, which contributes to global warming. Solar power serves as an alternative to non-renewable resources like coal.
- Solar power does not create any noise pollution.
- You can use solar power to heat water for your home.
- You can use a battery as backup for your solar system, giving you a supply of electricity even on days when your home doesn’t get as much radiation from the sun. However, most modern solar systems use net metering, which is easier than storing excess energy in batteries.
- In America, one solar panel system is installed every four minutes.
- NASA is currently working on a solar-powered aircraft.
- Solar power produces no pollution, which is a by-product of non-renewable energy consumption and one of the biggest global killers. It affects as many people as HIV or malaria and has a serious effect on children, whose bodies are often more vulnerable than those of adults.
- China is the world’s leading solar producer and seeks to triple its capacity by 2020. These goals are largely tied to the fact that China’s air pollution makes it almost impossible for citizens to breathe in cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
- A household rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tons of CO2 in its lifetime — including the energy it took to manufacture the solar panels. This can improve future air quality for humans as well as the millions of birds, fish, and mammals that are negatively affected by pollution each year.
- The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80% since 2008, and it is expected to keep falling.
- Solar power itself is a free source of energy, and once you’ve installed PV panels on your home, maintenance is minimal.
- Most solar panels have a warranty of 25 years.
- Many states allow you to sell the excess solar energy you produce, meaning you can not only earn back the cost of your panels, but you can also make a profit in the long run.
- Many states also have incentive programs for solar panel installation as encouragement to switch to more sustainable energy production. Policies vary by state, so find out what’s offered in yours when considering solar for your home.
- It takes the average homeowner 7 to 15 years to pay off their solar panels; those living in sunnier climates or states with good incentive programs can do it in as little as two years.
- Solar panels are exempt of property taxes in many states and can increase the value of a home more than a complete kitchen remodel.
Availability and Growth
- Given the constant nature of the sun, solar power is a very reliable energy source, as our ability to harvest it is dependent on just technology and location.
- California is home to the largest solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert. It spans 1,000 acres.
- California also dominates the solar power market, with a market share of 44% in 2015.
- California, Arizona, and North Carolina are the top three US states for solar power, based on the amount of cumulative solar electric capacity installed.
- Pollution can obscure the sun’s rays and stop them from reaching the Earth, so theoretically, the more humans switch over to solar power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the Earth’s capacity to harness solar energy will be.
- There are now nine states in the U.S. where 100% of new electrical energy comes from solar power.
- More than 200,000 Americans currently work in the solar power industry. That number is expected to climb to 420,000 by 2020.
Solar power is an exciting and ever-expanding industry. Stay up to date on developments in solar news to learn more about solar power’s effectiveness as a renewable energy source.