Important Facts about Solar Energy – the future of clean energy

The vital facts about solar energy you need to know.

facts about solar energy

Solar Energy Facts

In this article I have come up with a number of important facts about solar energy which most of us are not aware of. In today’s world of ever increasing energy costs, many people are looking for a more affordable energy alternative to gas or electric power. It need not be over emphasised that solar power is an exciting, eco-friendly, and ever-expanding industry today and our switch to solar will secure affordable power for our home and businesses for years to come. As you read through the solar energy facts, you’ll discover that recent advances in solar power will help our environment as never before and ensure the future of our planet. Finding affordable solar power applications for your home is a step in the right direction to reduce your carbon footprint and save money too.

Go on reading the various important facts about solar energy listed below to learn about the solar power basics, impacts of solar power on our health, solar panels cost, availability and growth of solar power and much more.

You might also like: Is solar energy renewable or nonrenewable?

Basic facts about solar energy  

Here are some of the basic solar energy facts which every one of us need to know:

  1. Solar power is harnessed from the energy radiated from the sun. Specifically, solar cells (Photovoltaic cells) with which solar panels are made of, capture the solar radiation, and convert it to electricity to power our homes and domestic appliances;
  2. Sunlight is composed of minuscule particles called photons or “packets” of energy, which radiate from the sun in the form of electromagnetic waves. As these light particles hit the Photovoltaic cells made of silicon, the energy from the photons is transferred to the loose electrons in the silicon atoms. The energized electrons are then able to escape their bond with the atoms and move freely from one layer to the other layer of the cells resulting in flow of electricity. This is how solar panels work to convert solar energy to electricity;
  3. Direct sunlight is not needed by the Solar panels to produce electricity although direct light helps to produce the most energy;
  4. In order to capture optimal sunlight solar panels need to face a particular direction depending on the geographical location of the place. In USA, the Solar panels are normally required to face south in order to capture optimal sunlight;
  5. A typical solar panel produces eight to ten kilowatts of power per square foot;
  6. You can use solar power to run air conditioners, hot water heaters, or any other appliances currently using natural gas, electricity, or oil. It’s the cheaper, safer, and more eco-friendly solution;
  7. At night when the solar system is not generating power in real time, you can use a special battery for storing solar power as backup for your solar system. However, most modern solar units use net metering system. It is a system hooked up to your city’s power grid which will provide energy at night for lights and other home appliances as usual, in exchange for the excess energy your solar panel system shared with the grid during the day time. For this an export / import meter is installed by the power company to monitor how much is being imported or exported during the day. For controlling energy deficits, net metering is an easier and cheaper system than storing excess solar power in batteries;
  8. Most of the solar panels have a capacity of 200 or 250-watt;
  9. The average home in USA consumes around 10000 Kwh of electricity annually, which means, to power an entire home you will need about 30nos, 250W Solar Panels, receiving a daily average of four hours of sunlight;
  10.  The amount of solar energy that hits the earth in one hour could fulfill all the earth’s energy needs for an entire year! However, due to mountains, oceans, and other geographical constraints, most of this energy is impossible to collect through solar panels. In order to power our entire planet with renewable solar energy it would require installing solar panels over an area of 191,000 square miles;

 Facts about Solar Energy regarding impact on health

Here are some important facts about solar energy regarding its impact on public health:

  1. Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, lead to rising global temperatures and climate change which contributes to serious environmental and public health issues. Solar power is one of the cleanest renewable energy resources in the world. Solar energy produces 80% less carbon emissions than fossil fuels. Except for some toxic materials and chemicals given off during manufacture of solar panels (Photovoltaic cells), solar energy does not produce any air or water pollution or greenhouse gases;
  2. By going solar, demand for fossil fuels will be reduced and greenhouse gas emissions would be considerably limited. Installing a solar energy system at homes can have measurable effect on the environment. According to the US Energy Information Administration, judging by the usage of electricity by average home in the state of Connecticut in north-east US, switching from fossil fuels to solar power has the same emissions reduction effect as planting 155 trees every year;
  3. A household rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in its lifetime;
  4. An analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that widespread solar adoption would significantly reduce nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter emissions, all of which can cause health problems. NREL found that, among other health benefits, solar power results in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and lost workdays related to health issues;
  5. There is no noise pollution associated with solar power as there are no moving parts involved in most applications of solar power and photovoltaic cells silently convert sun’s radiated energy to electricity. This compares favourably to certain other green-techs such as wind turbines;

Facts about Solar Energy on  cost and affordability

Most people are not aware of many facts about solar energy system regarding its cost and affordability. Here are some of the vital solar energy facts related to its cost:

  1. The cost of solar panels has dropped by about nine percent than it was a year ago, which indicates that the coming years are likely to see utility-scale solar becoming cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation;
  2. The cost of manufacturing solar panels, and thus the cost to consumers, is expected to become the cheapest form of alternative electricity in no time. This will make solar energy a much more compelling and viable investment for all types of households;
  3. At present, the average cost of household solar installation ranges from $2.87 to $3.85 per watt in USA. The average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on an average price of $3.36/watt, a 5kW system would cost around $12,000 after Federal tax credits, plus the rebates that may be offered by the state;
  4. Solar power being a free source of energy, once solar panels are installed and start running, maintenance cost is minimal and returns are high;
  5. To avoid steep upfront payments for buying a solar panel system, solar energy companies and financial institutions are now offering solar loans to give buyers an easy payment plan over a fixed term. Solar loans generally give the borrower immediate ownership of the panels, meaning they can benefit from solar tax credits, rebates, and lower energy costs as soon as the panels are up and running. This makes solar power more affordable for everyone;
  6. The majority of today`s solar power systems do not required a lot of maintenance. Residential solar panels usually only require cleaning a couple of times a year. Most solar panels have a 20/25-year warranty, and if you buy the panels through loan financing, most companies provide free maintenance of the system;
  7. If you generate more electricity from your solar system than your own requirements, many states allow you to sell the excess energy you produce, meaning you can not only earn back the cost of your panels but also make a profit on energy in the long run;
  8. Most states offer solar incentives and solar rebates to reduce the cost of your solar PV system. The incentive programs may vary considerably from state to state. While it takes the average homeowners six to fifteen 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;
  9. The incentive programs are meant to encourage people to switch to more sustainable solar energy production. Some solar incentive programs pay you back over time, based on the energy you generate. Other solar incentives are one-time payments of rebates or credits. These regulatory and financial mechanisms for making solar energy more affordable are all helping to increase the adoption of solar energy across the United States.

Facts about Solar Energy regarding Solar power growth

Here are some important solar enegy facts regarding its growth potential globally:

  1. Solar power will continue to be a very reliable energy source as long as the sun keeps on shining and radiating heat every day. Our ability to harness solar power is solely dependent on technology, location and cost;
  2. Since pollution can obscure the sun’s rays and stop light from reaching the Earth, as more and more people switch over to solar power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, earth’s capacity to harness solar energy would be greatly increased;
  3. According to latest data, based on cumulative solar capacity installed, California generates the most solar power in America, followed by North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and New Jersey;
  4. According to a report of 2016 released by ‘The Solar Foundation’, the U.S. solar industry is currently employing more than 260,000 workers, a nearly 25% increase in the number of jobs from 2015 and this number is expected to increase to more than 360,000 by 2021. As per the report this jump is largely driven by a massive increase in solar panel installations;
  5. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than 303 GW of installed PV power was operational worldwide at the end of last year, This global capacity, the agency claims, is enough to produce 375 billion kWh annually and to cover 1.8 % of the electricity demand of the planet. The agency also reports that China is currently the largest PV market, with over 78 GW of cumulative installed solar power, followed by Japan (42.8 GW), Germany (41.2 GW), the United States (40.3 GW), and Italy (19.3 GW);

Conclusion

As you read through the above facts about solar energy, you’ll discover that recent advances in solar power will help our environment as never before and ensure the future of our planet. Using renewable green energy produced by the sun to power our homes to reduce our long dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels will mean less pollution and a reduction in the harmful emissions of Co2 and other greenhouse gases. The solar energy facts listed above clearly prove that despite the upfront costs, a solar energy investment more than pays for itself in the long-term.

On going through the facts about solar energy described above it is evident  that the impressive growth in the U.S. solar industry in the recent years is going to help to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future of the states. As the cost of a solar energy system has dropped significantly over the past few years affordable clean solar energy for the households is now a reality with many products and resources available to average homeowners.

 

No comments.

Leave a Reply