Solar energy is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy, and essential in the fight against global warming. But how much do you really know about it? Here are ten interesting facts about solar energy.
It is measured in Kilowatt-hours (kWh). To put that in perspective, you can burn a 100W light bulb for ten hours with 1 kWh of energy.
In 1767, Horace de Saussere, a Swiss scientist, invented the first “hot box,” which is used to collect solar energy.
In 1921, the Nobel Prize went to Albert Einstein for his work on solar energy. He came up with the idea that light is made up of tiny particles, photons, to explain the effect of electrons being released when light shines upon a surface such as a metal. This is the theory which is used in photovoltaic solar cells.
The amount of sunlight which the Earth receives every minute is enough, if properly harnessed, to be able to take care of all of our energy needs for a whole year.
Solar energy powers all of the satellites for communications and TV with the use of photovoltaic cells.
Every month, a 1 kWh solar system can save 170 pounds of coal, 105 gallons of water and prevent 300 lbs of carbon dioxide from contaminating the atmosphere.
Every solar panel is made up of approximately 40 solar cells.
Fossil fuels are a form of stored solar energy. They were made by decomposed plant matter hundred of millions of years ago. The plants got their energy from the sun of course.
The largest solar energy array is located in the Mojave Desert. It spans 4 square kilometres (one thousand acres) and produces approximately 90% of all solar energy produced on the planet.
If even a small portion of the Sahara Desert was set up with solar panels, it could produce enough energy for the entire world.
Solar Energy – Get Involved
Those might be some interesting facts about solar energy, but the best thing about it is that you can use it yourself. You may have already done so with a solar powered calculator or watch, for example, however you also have the option of having solar panels installed on your roof.
Now is the best time to get involved with solar energy, as the government is currently offering a feed-in tariff making it an even more attractive financial proposition. Solar panels will naturally help to reduce your electricity bill, but with the feed-in tariff you actually make money as well. For every unit of electricity which you produce and which is fed into the national grid, you get paid a certain rate. At the moment, that rate is as high as it is likely to be for years to come, as it will probably be reduced in the government’s next spending review.
Now is the perfect time, therefore, to make the most interesting thing about solar energy…
11. You just used it to make a cup of tea!