20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You


20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You

 20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You 

Solar energy is one of the most important renewable energy sources on the planet, but less than 5% of the electricity produced in the world comes from solar energy.

The benefits of solar energy are great, so we show some of the interesting things and how its application changes many industries, such as construction.

If you're wondering how solar has gone from a niche product to an unstoppable contribution to our electric future, this is the bottom line. After decades of development and political debate about solar energy, the industry is finally ready to stand on its own two feet. 

Solar energy projects around the world are hitting fuel prices without help, and every time they do, the future looks a little different. How solar energy works. 20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You 

Solar energy is produced by converting sunlight into electricity. This power is achieved through two main types of technology:

Solar photovoltaic (PV)

Solar Panels (CSP).

Photovoltaic is an example you are familiar with, since this technology is used in space.

However, new technologies that produce high-temperature solar systems from sunlight have been developed and are now being used in many industries. Heat from the solar system can be used to produce sustainable alternative fuels.

This means that companies that rely heavily on fossil fuels can now use solar energy and solar thermal systems for clean, sustainable alternatives. The construction sector is one industry that has benefited greatly from the use of solar energy.

In particular, the cement industry has focused on reducing its carbon footprint in recent years, and solar energy is just one response to this challenge. But before we get into the details, here are some cool facts about solar energy that we think you should know!

But there are still many things that most people don't know about solar energy.


Here are 20 Things that Might Surprise You

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Solar Energy is the Most Powerful Source of Energy in the World

There is enough solar energy hitting the earth every hour to meet all of humanity's energy needs for a year. Every ounce of oil, every cubic foot of coal and every cubic foot of natural gas could be spared if we could capture up to one hour of solar energy each year. This is a ladder of opportunity. To put it in a different context, if we covered the Mojave Desert with solar panels, it would generate more than twice the electricity the United States uses each year.


2. Solar Panel Prices Have Fallen 99% since 1977

In 1977, it cost $77 per watt for a simple solar cell. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research Q3 2017 Solar Market Report, the cost of solar is $0.21 per watt. A fully assembled module costs $0.39 per watt.

 20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You 

3. Solar Energy is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels

According to Lazard's Levelized Energy Cost Analysis - Version 11.0, solar energy costs about 4.3 cents per kWh with unapproved subsidies, cheaper than any other option for new power plants and fossil fuels. The cheapest fuel option is natural gas, which costs between 4.2 and 7.8 cents per kWh.

Depending on where you plan to install solar power, it may be cheaper than coal, diesel, nuclear, and in many cases natural gas, especially in the southern United States. If the cost-cutting model is any indication, it won't be long before solar power displaces all fossil fuel costs.


4. Solar Power Plants Can Last 40 Years or More

When a solar power plant is built, it is supported by a power purchase agreement with a customer (work, company or owner) that lasts 20 to 25 years. But that doesn't mean these plants won't be worth it twenty years later.

Not only will the sky last 40 or 50 years, but the infrastructure around the solar industry is very valuable. Solar panels can be replaced with newer, more efficient modules at a lower cost, thus improving efficiency, but once the site is up and running, the solar power plant is having a long effective life.


5. China is the World Leader in Solar Energy

Solar energy is starting to get a lot of attention in the United States, but we're a little behind compared to China. In 2017, GTM Research estimates that the United States will install 12.4 GW of new solar power systems. China installed 24.4 GW in the first half alone and will be more than 50 GW for the full year. To put China's 2017 solar installation into perspective, 50 GW of solar power will power 8.2 million American homes.


6. California is the U.S. Star in Solar

No US state has developed a solar industry like California. Not only is it No. 1 solar installation by the border with 19.7 GW installed at the end of 2016, it gets 14% of its electricity from solar power - a higher percentage than any other state, according to SEIA.

What's amazing about California's solar market is that it's evenly distributed between small rooftops and some of the largest power plants in the world.

  20 Facts

 About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You 

8. The Sun is the Fastest Source of Energy to Dissipate

In the event of a disaster, no source of electricity can be built or repaired as quickly as solar power - as the situation in Puerto Rico showed after this year's hurricane. Tesla (TSLA 1.81%) and others could build a small solar power plant and energy storage on the island within weeks. Neither the fossil fuel industry, nor the renewable energy industry, would have been installed so quickly.


9. Probably, It is Near You

A giant solar power plant built in the desert may get a lot of attention, but it's distributing the sun that's disrupting the way we think about energy. These services are spread throughout the network, from rooftops to panels installed at your local big box store. 

You may be surprised to learn that according to the Solar Energy Industries Association's latest Solar Means Business report, Target (TGT -2.92%) is the largest buyer of solar energy companies, with 147. 5 MW of solar generation, and Walmart (WMT -1.40%) is second with 145.0MW. Another well-known corporate customer is Apple (AAPL -0.59%), with 93.9 MW of solar generation in the US, enough to fully charge 39 million iPhones every day for a year. In the long term, Apple wants to not only use renewable energy to run its operations, but also to buy renewable energy to power the devices it manufactures.


10.  Utilities Provide People with Solar Options

If you yourself want to go to the sun, a rooftop system may be the option for you. And even if you don't have a suitable house for installing solar panels, you can get 100% of your electricity from solar power in an increasing number of places. Community solar projects are developing in states such as Massachusetts and Minnesota, allowing private consumers to contract to purchase energy for solar projects. And facilities across the country offer customers the option of getting wind or solar power for extra money.


11. It is the Most Abundant Energy on Earth

According to Scientific American, solar energy is the greatest source of energy on our planet, and the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface of the earth in just 90 minutes is enough to provide energy for the entire world for a year!

In addition, solar power dominates all other renewable resources (e.g, wind, water, geothermal) and uses less space or resources to generate electricity.


12. Solar Energy was Discovered Almost 200 Years Ago

The science behind solar energy was discovered nearly 200 years ago by French scientist Edmond Becquerel. Fun fact: he was discovered during a photo test at only 19 years old!


13. How Much Energy a Solar Panel Produces

The electrical energy produced by solar energy is expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is an example of electrical energy as consumption of 1000 watts for one hour. To calculate the amount of energy produced in a day, multiply the average number of watts produced per hour by the number of peak hours. This means about 1.6 kWh per day or 54 kWh of electricity per month.


14. This Energy Helps to Reduce Climate Change

Solar power tops the list of renewable energy sources as the cleanest of the bunch. The electricity obtained from sunlight does not consume any electricity, and it does not produce air or pollution in the process, so the building industry is responsible for this benefit!


15. There are Solar Cities

Solar Cities is an initiative that seeks to promote solar energy projects around the world and encourage citizens to participate in the energy transition. The project aims to bring solar power to cities around the world and government officials are already in Croatia, Ukraine and Georgia!

  20 Facts About Solar Energy that Might Surprise You 

16. How Solar Power Has Improved the Construction Industry

Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and is closely related to the industrial sector. The development of solar energy will continue to affect our built environment, and moving forward, our sector will be ready to build infrastructure that accepts and prioritizes new and existing technologies. Solar energy has become a major part of sustainable building and construction practices and is expected to become more common in the future.


17. It is Cheap Energy

With the recent rise in energy prices around the world, affordable clean energy supplements are in high demand! The good news is that the cost of solar energy has dropped significantly over the past decade and is now 33% cheaper than burning electricity in the United States.


18. Efficiency of Solar Energy

Most solar panels have an energy efficiency rating of between 11 and 15%, which means the percentage of energy that can be converted into electricity. However, there are different types of solar and different performance in each type. Researchers have succeeded in improving the efficiency of solar technology, but their progress has not been made available to the public.


19. The Panels Generate Energy Without Direct Sunlight

What if it's a cloudy day or if it's raining? This is one of the biggest doubts many people have, but even in bad weather, electricity can be generated from solar energy. On average, solar panels produce 30%-50% and 10%-20% of their full power on cloudy days and heavy rain days, respectively. Did you know that solar power plants already exist? Synhelion's proprietary technology uses solar panels to convert sunlight into synthetic marine fuel.


20. Panels can Last up to 30 Years

Solar panels operate at high efficiency for the first 25-30 years, but you can start to see a return on your investment and money around 6 years after installation. After 30 years, efficiency will deteriorate, but your panels will not completely stop converting sunlight into solar energy.

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