Learn how solar energy works through these 100 interesting facts
With the advancements in science and technology, the demand for energy resources is also increasing. These sources of energy are used in various manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunication, transport, and other industries. These energy resources are required to carry out daily activities and live a hassle-free life.
There are two types of energy resources available, namely, renewable energy and non-renewable energy. Renewable energy is sustainable energy and is formed by collecting natural resources like rays of the sun, wind, rain, tides, etc. As the name suggests, renewable energy is available in plenty and can be re-established from nature.
Due to its eco-friendly nature, it has become the most coveted form of energy. Besides being wanted for industrial purposes, this form of energy is also being desired for performing household needs. Under this, we find 5 main types of energy- Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. In this article, we are going to discuss 100+ interesting facts about solar energy and solar panels that will astonish you.
Interesting facts about SOLAR ENERGY
What is solar energy?
As the name suggests, solar energy is one of the primary sources of renewable energy that is obtained through the accumulation of sunlight received by the earth. By utilizing sunlight, solar power can be formed to provide electricity for industries and households, run vehicles, produce scalding water, etc.
It is an imperishable form of energy and is more feasible than fossil fuels. One of its noticeable advantages is that it is friendly to the environment and does not produce pollution. Therefore, in order to curb pollution and global warming, people are shifting focus towards energy resources found in abundance with solar energy being the most desired one.
What is a solar panel?
The solar panel is a photovoltaic module that traps rays emitted by the sun and converts them into electricity. Through solar panels, light can be transformed into electricity to serve human needs and desires. Once installed, a solar panel can run for approximately 30 years and fulfill all the needs and requirements of the human race.
Here are the 100 solar energy facts you should know:
1) Solar energy is the most budget-friendly and economical source of energy that can be used to produce electricity. Being found in abundance, the cost of solar energy is approximately $1.65 per watt only in the United States. The cost of operation and the installation charges of solar energy has exorbitantly dropped in recent years.
2) Chemical energy can also be derived from solar energy via plants and trees which use photosynthesis to result in its formation. Chemical energy can in turn generate biomass and fossil fuels.
3) Safe drinking water, brackish water, and saline water can be curated by utilizing solar energy. Collecting, forming, and filtrating salt from the sea and ocean is another use of solar energy. This energy can also be used to ensure that wastewater is reused properly and adequately.
4) China is the world leader in terms of producing solar energy. According to studies, China has installed a minimum of 30.1 GW of photovoltaic capability in 2019. The United States of America is the third-largest producer of solar energy on the list with California being the one that produces maximum solar energy in the country.
5) Solar energy can be used to perform household chores like cooking food and warming up water. This makes the domestic tasks quite convenient and less time-consuming.
6) In order to make optimum use of solar energy, many countries use solar energy as a primary element to provide potential strength to space shuttles and make progress in the field of science. Many space researchers are also powered by solar energy to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
7) Solar energy is the most sustainable form of energy that effectively reduces pollution since it uses sunlight received by the earth as the main source and does not discharge any excess greenhouse gases which are harmful to the environment and cause damage to it.
8) With the improvements in the agriculture sector, people have become inclined towards tractors that are powered by solar energy to operate. Solar powered tractors help in the growth of crops and make sure that no harm is done while plowing. The consequences and results, thus produced, are cost-effective, encouraging the farmers and farming industry to install more solar panels.
9) Solar energy can be used to do a variety of tasks. Apart from being useful in scientific research and agricultural fields, solar energy can be utilized to create power for operating solar calculators.
10) The longevity of solar panels is quite high. Solar panels run a long way without any hindrances. Once installed, a solar panel can serve for approximately 30 years with negligible maintenance charges. Thus, solar panels are cost-effective, time-saving, and provide convenience by effectively solving all the needs and rightfully fulfilling all the purposes.
11) We often hear that solar energy cannot be used at night. However, solar panels can be operated from anywhere at any time, provided that a battery backup is installed. One can have access to solar panels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 375 days a year.
12) Solar energy can be used in multiple industries such as transportation, agriculture, production, telecommunication, logistics, etc. Many multinational firms derive their electricity from solar energy and solar panels. Many factories, mines, etc. also use solar energy as their basic source of providing electricity.
13) Another effective and innovative fact about solar energy is that it can be utilized in solar ventilation. Solar ventilation provides a cooling sensation during summer whereas it helps to warm up the house in freezing winter.
14) The name solar is derived from the word “sun”. Hence, we can say that the word solar represents the sun and means depending on the sun. In this context, it has been discovered that one hour of sunlight received by earth is equivalent to the amount of energy required by earth for one whole year.
15) Studies show that there has been a drastic rise of up to 39% in the installation and production of solar energy in 2016 as compared to the 4% utilization of solar energy in 2010. Therefore, the consumption of solar energy is significantly rising.
16) Among other sources of renewable energy, Solar energy is said to be the most frequently used one. It is predominantly the most popular and eminent renewable energy.
17) Another exotic fact about solar energy is that about 30% of the total sunlight accepted by the earth is transferred back to space while the rest 70% is absorbed and consumed by the soil, air, and ocean water of the earth.
18) A popular misconception we often encounter is that solar energy produces noise while creating power. Researchers have claimed that this notion is completely wrong and solar energy does not create any noise while producing power.
19) Solar energy is increasing the generation of employment faster than other employment markets. It has also significantly offered more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.
20) Las Vegas and Nevada are found to be operated by 100% renewable energy where solar energy predominantly holds its position high. Thus, these places have managed to curb pollutants and reduce global warming.
21) One more mesmerizing fact is that the international space center is completely powered by solar energy and solar panels.
22) One new prospective function of solar energy apart from being used for heating water, lighting up houses and cities, running vehicles, and ploughing fields are that it can also be used to do painting as well.
23) Another less known fact is that solar energy operates better and more effectively in places with less temperature and cool atmosphere.
24) Many regions in the world have allowed solar powered and solar operated houses to be free from property taxes. Therefore, one can save money by installing solar panels or by utilizing solar energy.
25) Besides being tax free, a solar powered residence can be sold at a higher price in the future. The worth of a property, thus, increases if solar panels are installed and all the chores are being done via solar energy.
26) Although solar energy was first discovered by a citizen of America, Charles Fritts, in 1883, the idea of converting sunlight into energy to be used for fulfilling various purposes was first introduced by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century.
27) With time solar energy is gaining more popularity due to its easy accessibility and effortless maintenance. Solar panels can be installed or set up in rural areas as well. The biggest solar panel in the world is situated in the Mojave Desert, occupying an area of about 1000 acres.
28) Solar energy is not only beneficial to the atmosphere but also provides significant advantages to the users. A survey was conducted which showed that people who used solar powered energy, were able to save about 30 tons of carbon dioxide and up to 70 million barrels containing oil every year.
29) It is found that within every square foot Solar panels can provide up to 10 kilowatt energy per hour.
30) Solar panels are less time consuming. Hence, they significantly save time as solar powered energy is proved to be the fastest mode of installing and distributing energy. Moreover, once installed, a solar panel spends negligible time providing power to the property.
31) Another popular belief is that solar panels need direct sunlight to be able to operate. However, on the contrary, we have found that solar energy does not require direct sunlight to produce electricity. Solar panels are efficient enough to generate power even on cloudy days. Moreover, if batteries are set up, solar panels can provide electricity even at night.
32) Solar panels are not needed to be fancy. Study shows that an average solar panel system can operate with up to 25% efficiency, which means that, up to 25% of the sunlight directly received by the earth can be transformed into electricity. Thus, solar panels are quite efficient and effective.
33) With the progress in technology and science, solar panels are becoming more efficient and convenient. It is expected that in the near future, a solar panel will be able to lessen pollution by reducing up to 100 tons of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants.
34) Solar panels are quite reliable since the availability of solar energy is sufficient. It is found that about 175,000 terawatts of energy reach the earth as radiation every day. Note that solar radiation is received by the earth even on cloudy days.
35) Another exquisite fact is that the first-ever photovoltaic module was used to generate power in electronic products and remote satellites rather than residences and properties.
36) Apart from industrial and household uses, solar energy can be used to paint or add color to the fabric.
37) Australia is said to receive the largest amount of solar radiation on earth. No other continent receives as much radiation as Australia intercepts.
38) Researchers have found that the solar capacity of the earth is up to 300 gigawatts in total.
39) A survey shows that Mexico has a record of delivering the most economical and cheapest solar electricity available at around 1.77 cents per kilowatt every hour.
Read more: Impact Of Renewable Energy on Economy (2021).
40) Due to the sustainable nature of renewable energy, many countries have become more inclined towards it and have started relying upon it. Iceland, Uruguay, Tokelau, and Paraguay are among such countries that have become 95% to 100% dependent on renewable energy with solar energy having a significant position on the list.
41) The highest amount of solar efficiency was recorded in 2014 in the month of December. It was found that up to 45% of solar efficiency was generated in that year.
42) We all know that about 29% of the total circumference of the earth is covered by land. The rest is occupied by water with a high number of glaciers in it. It has been found that approximately 80% of the sunlight that strikes ice is transferred back to space whereas, 90% of the total sunlight that the ocean receives is absorbed by water.
43) According to a survey, in 2017, Tengger Desert Solar Park which is also known as, The Great Wall of Solar, situated in China, was regarded as the largest solar farm on earth. It occupies about 1100 square kilometers of the area with a threshold of about 1500 MW.
44) Solar energy can also be used to run engines of vehicles to ensure smooth operations. This curbs pollution and creates a significant reduction in the cost of maintenance and freight.
45) We have already come across the fact that solar power is ultra-affordable. In a conjecture before 2020, it was stated that solar powered electricity would cost 1 cent per kilowatt every hour.
46) Australia is expected to create the largest battery storage and solar plant in the world having an efficiency of about
30 MW with around 3 million solar panels and 1 million batteries.
47) In a report, it is stated that Germany has the highest photovoltaic efficiency and solar capacity followed by China, the USA, and Japan.
48) The photovoltaic concept, i.e, the process of converting sunlight into energy, was first discovered and introduced by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in the year 1839. In 1941, the first ever solar panel or photovoltaic module was established by Russell Ohl.
49) It is found that each household that has installed solar panels and performs its chores on solar energy can save up to $1300 in total at the end of a year.
50) An interesting fact is that plants, trees, and microorganisms have been using solar energy since the beginning of life on earth, much before human beings.
51) Study shows that the total solar energy received by earth is 10000 times greater than the total energy utilized by the earth.
52) In 1954, the first ever solar cell based on silicon was discovered and established by Bell Laboratories.
53) More than 200 households can be powered in order to do their domestic chores with just 1 megawatt of solar energy.
54) Many countries like Japan and China have introduced automation and use robots and computers based on solar energy.
55) Due to its usability and efficiency, many states have made it compulsory for newly built buildings to use power based on solar energy.
56) Owing to its high demand and a large number of benefits, many coal mines are now being transformed into power plants based on solar energy.
57) Usage of solar energy provides health benefits as well by avoiding pollution. It is estimated that more than 25000 lives can be saved by using solar power. Air, water, and other natural resources become pollution free, which in turn, helps to improve the function of the lungs, heart, and other organs of human beings.
58) Due to the sustainable and inexhaustible nature of solar energy, it is now increasingly being used in cookwares to foster the process of making food and add convenience for the users. One such example is solar powered cookers.
59) Solar power can also be used to charge batteries of cell phones, tablets, vehicles, computers, and other machines.
60) Solar lights can be utilized to give luminosity to not only homes but public properties like railways, airports, highways, playgrounds, etc. Solar lighting can also be used for industrial and commercial lighting. Due to the easy installation and conventional value, many states are induced to introduce solar power in day to day activities of the states.
61) The measurement unit of solar power is watts, where 1000 watts is equivalent to 1 kilowatt, 1000 kilowatt is equal to 1 megawatt and a total of 1000 megawatt is equivalent to 1 gigawatt. Following that, 1000 gigawatt totals to 1 terawatt, and finally, 1000 terawatt is equal to 1 petawatt.
62) To supply solar power to the entire earth, we will need to install solar panels covering an area of about 191000 square miles out of the total 57 million square miles of land that the earth has.
63) It has been proven that the solar panels facing the south in the United States of America are the most efficient and effective ones.
64) Usually, the quintessential solar panels are installed along with inverters so that the direct current (DC) power can be transformed into alternating current (AC) power to have usability.
65) Besides being light on the budget, solar energy is being highly preferred for industrial uses to prevent corrosion reaction of pipes. Solar energy also makes it easy for industries to take adequate care of heavy plants and equipment.
66) During emergencies, solar energy is the fastest solution to provide relief from crises.
67) It is stated that monocrystalline solar panels have a less bright appearance and are more efficient rather than polycrystalline solar panels which have more of a blue outlook.
68) Most solar panels are found to be unalterable or rigid. However, the non rigid or flexible ones are often utilized for frolic vehicles and compact or small-scale production of energy.
69) In order to facilitate utilities provided by solar-powered electricity to those who live on rental properties or those who do not have the facility to install solar panels in their homes, many states are coming up with Community Solar Projects. Massachusetts and Minnesota are among such states.
70) The space research centers were some of the early consumers of solar energy. We have already come across the fact that many satellites were powered by solar panels. The Vanguard 1 was the first ever artificial satellite that was sent to space being powered by solar energy.
71) Many business start-ups are now increasingly proceeding towards the adaptation of solar powered electricity. It is expected that in the near future, solar energy will play a significant and vital role in providing power and will occupy a dominant position in every industry and business.
72) Solar energy also minimizes water usage. Thus, it saves a lot of water from wastage.
73) Although the initial cost of installing a solar panel is high, solar energy can alleviate people from paying lifetime bills of electricity. Solar energy also reduces dependency on oil and gas manufacturing companies.
74) The light emitted by the sun reaches earth within 10 minutes despite covering a distance of about 90 million miles between the sun and the earth.
75) We have already learned that cloudy overcast days do not create an impact on solar energy. However, shades of rooftops, street poles, trees, and chimneys hinder sunlight from reaching the surface of the earth, which in turn, creates obstacles for solar energy.
76) Owing to its high orderliness and usability, many multinational companies are now switching to solar energy to get power. Target Corporation, Walmart, Prologis, Apple, IKEA, Macy’s, etc. are some of them.
77) The first scientist who won a Nobel prize for presenting a thesis on the photovoltaic effect was Albert Einstein.
78) In order to show the efficiency of solar energy to the world, a plane named, The Super Solar Impulse 2, flew across the globe utilizing just solar energy.
79) It is predicted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that by 2050, solar energy will capture almost 30% of the total power market and will become the biggest source of supplying electricity.
80) The thickness of semiconductors in crystalline solar panels is 5% more than that of the thin film ones.
81) Solar energy can also be used to dry out clothes and fabric by putting them under the sun.
82) One myth we often get to hear is that one might get cancer due to solar panels. This is completely false and solar panels have nothing to do with cancer or any other hazardous disease. Instead, solar panels cause health benefits by reducing pollution, which in turn, decreases the potential threats to human health.
83) One other major misconception we often come across is that solar panels absorb the entire energy of the sun, hence, deprive the sun of its own power which will eventually lead to a shortage of energy. This theory has no basis and is completely misleading. Solar panels absorb the light radiated by the sun and convert it into power. Solar panels do not absorb any extra energy, hence, this theory is factually incorrect.
84) The first solar powered car in the world to run on the roadway is Stella. It has the capacity to cover an area of 500 miles by just deriving energy from the sun. Therefore, it is proven that cars can operate by deriving just solar energy without any hindrances. Hence, the myth of cars not being able to perform on solar energy is entirely wrong.
85) Germany derived 7.3% of its total energy requirements from solar energy in March 2019.
86) Another wrong notion we often get to hear is that only those regions in a country or a continent which have a sunny climate and are well exposed to the sun, receive solar energy. This is factually incorrect since many cold countries like Alaska, the northern part of Germany, etc. receive equal energy from the sun.
87) Over 65 gigawatt of photovoltaic power plants have been installed in just two consecutive years, i.e, 2012 and 2013. This is almost equal to the total solar panels installed and solar energy generated in the previous 40 years.
88) Hydro, biomass, and other sources of renewable energy are significantly derived or developed from solar energy alone.
89) The solar power plants that have been installed in space, generate solar energy throughout the year since they get direct radiation from the sun.
90) Solar panels are made of silicon. Silicon is found in abundance and is an element that is widely available on the earth after oxygen.
91) An amazing fact that we are unaware of is China building a panda shaped solar panel covering an area of about 250 acres.
92) Did you know that solar panels that boil water are based on thermals which derive power from the warmth of the sun while photovoltaic (PV) solar panels supply electricity by deriving sunlight!
93) Electric vehicles are now in demand due to the rapid growth of the solar power industry and the increasing benefits of solar energy.
94) There are 3 variants on which solar panels are based- monocrystalline, thin film, and polycrystalline.
95) One more amazing fact is that it is possible to install a solar panel in your house all by yourself provided you have access to bolts, screws, and prefabricated parts. A little bit of sincere effort and skills might make it possible to install solar panels without the help of others.
96) An exquisite fact is that The United States of America can provide solar power to more than 18.6 million households as it has installed about 103 gigawatts of solar energy.
97) A popular belief we often encounter is that the cost of installation of solar panels is quite high. However, the installation charges have dropped down over 70% in the last 10 years.
98) Even in blackouts and power cuts, solar energy supplies electricity to houses without any difficulties.
99) Usually, the demand for energy is higher between 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Solar panels also provide the highest amount of energy during those hours. Hence, solar panels have the capacity to meet high demand for energy.
100) Even if you are not able to install solar panels, it is possible to get access to solar energy even on rent.
101) Recently, India has given a credit of 100 million dollars to Sri Lanka for the installation of solar panels and utilization of solar energy.
102) Generally, high-temperature solar thermal energy is used for providing electricity whereas low temperature energy is utilized for producing heat and to foster the process of cooling.
103) International Solar Alliance is a joint mission of 121 countries and an initiation by India. Mostly the sunshine countries are part of this. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy proposed the ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid initiative. The vision of the initiative is to provide solar energy everywhere in the world because the ‘The Sun never sets’.
With the majority of pros and very few disadvantages, solar energy is likely to become the leader in the power supply market in the future. Owing to its sufficiency and a large number of utilities, all the multinational and national corporations are shifting their demand towards solar power from fossil fuels.
From helping to perform domestic chores to serving in the transportation industry, solar energy is versatile in nature. And all the needs and aspirations are fulfilled without creating pollution or causing damage to the atmosphere. Therefore, it is highly recommended to install solar panels and stop depending on non-renewable energy.
These were some of the interesting facts about solar energy. Note that this article has been prepared after thorough research and can be fully relied upon. We hope that all the above facts were helpful and solve all confusion regarding solar energy.
The writer believes awareness is the solution for change. Her comprehension in the field of ecology and environmental studies is impactful. With her knowledge, she had written much content for academic websites and well-known publishing platforms. Here, at BleedGreen, she urges us to share her wisdom of words to bring cognizant in the society for our green resources.