Top 10 Facts About Solar
Solar is an incredible source of energy and could be an answer to climate change so it's no surprise that there are lots of incredible facts about solar power and solar technology.
From the weird and wonderful to how solar panels could benefit your day-to-day life, here are our top 10 solar facts…
- The sun sends more energy to earth in an hour than humans use in a year
430 quintillion (that's 430 followed by 18 zeros) Joules of energy hits the Earth from the sun every hour while we use 410 quintillion Joules each year. Not only that, the light from the sun carrying the energy only takes around 8 minutes to make the 91 million mile journey.
- Enough solar panels are installed in China every hour to cover a football pitch
Not only is China adopting solar technology at quite a pace, they're also coming up with creative ways to install them – Northern China is home to a giant solar panda and Southern China can boast the world's largest floating solar installation. So it looks like they'll just keep installing them. Well, until they run out of space…
- A solar-powered home can reduce CO2 emissions by 100 tons within 30 years
100 tons might sound like a lot and that's because it is and this statistic even takes into account the energy used to manufacture the solar panels.
- Charles Fritts developed the first ever solar cell panel in 1883
American inventor, Charles Fritts, is credited with having invented the first solar cell panel by coating selenium with a thin layer of gold. It had an efficiency of 1-2% which looks small compared to the 10-20% efficiency of modern solar panels on UK homes.
- If we covered a small fraction of the Sahara desert with photovoltaic cells, we could generate all of the world's electricity requirements
The sun shines brighter on the Sahara Desert than anywhere else on Earth and covering roughly 1% of it in solar panels could meet the electricity requirements of everyone on Earth.
- Countries now use solar energy to power spaceships
One example is the Mars Observer which used an expandable 6 panel solar array to generate its energy from the sun.
- In March 2015 the Solar Impulse plane left Abu Dhabi for the first ever round the world trip in an aircraft powered by solar energy
Carrying more than 17,000 solar panels, the Solar Impulse 2 spent 23 days in the air, making 23 stops along the way.
- Solar panels don't need direct sunlight to work
Solar panels generate energy from daylight rather than direct sunlight so will work on cloudy days. They just won't be generating anything during the night but installing a solar battery means that you can still use solar energy during the night.
- India is home to the world's largest solar power park which consists of 2.5 million solar panels
Located in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, the world's largest solar park covers 2,500 acres and has a capacity of 648 megawatts which is thought to make enough power for around 750,000 people.
- You can generate energy together with your local community with a solar garden
Solar gardens or shared renewable energy plants can generate electricity that's shared around a community which means that you don't need to have the panels installed on your property.
So there you have it, 10 facts about solar energy that help it eclipse other sources of renewable energy.
One fact that didn't make out top 10 but is probably the most important of all for homeowners considering solar is that the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) will be closing in March 2019. Through the FiT you can receive 20 years of government payments for the electricity being generated by your solar panels. Once the scheme closes, new applications won't be accepted so it's now or never if you want to reap as many rewards as possible from generating your own solar energy.