7 Interesting Solar Energy Facts You Should Probably Know
Over the past several years, the growth of the solar energy industry has been rather noteworthy and surely exponential. As you might've read on our website before, this is mainly due to the upgraded efficiency and money saving traits of solar energy. Solar energy, quite simply, is the future of energy generation if we want to really make an impact on the health of the Earth.
1. Solar power is currently the most abundant source of energy on Earth
The amount of potential solar energy that falls on Earth’s surface due to sunlight exposure in 1 hour equals the total annual energy consumption of everyone on the planet. In fact, only 20 days of sunshine can create an equivalent amount of energy as all of Earth’s coal, oil, and natural gas combined.
2. Solar power is the fastest-growing energy source
In early 2019, the United States achieved over 2 million solar system installations. This milestone comes only three years after the industry completed its one millionth installation, a feat that took more than 40 years to accomplish in the first place! Looking forward, the solar industry is estimated to reach a whopping 4 million installations in 2023.
3. Solar energy is the cheapest source of energy in the world
Since 2008, the cost of solar panels has dropped by roughly 80%. In December 2016, the cost of building and installing new solar electricity generation dropped to $1.65 per watt, narrowly beating out its biggest competitor in the renewable energy space in wind ($1.66/Watt) and its all of its fossil fuel competitors. Since then, those numbers have continued to drop consistently.
4. Solar electricity has actually been around since.. 1839?
All the way back in 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect—which is the ability to create an electric current from the sun’s rays. Then, scientist Russell Ohl invented the first solar panel cell in 1941. A company named Bell Laboratories then released the first commercial solar panel in 1954.
5. Solar panel efficiency is the highest its ever been
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), most solar panels sold in 2020 have efficiencies between 15% and 20%. The first silicon solar panels were only about 6% efficient. With increasingly bettering technology, this number will continue to rise.
6. Solar panels can produce power without direct sunlight
Many people on our social media have left comments about concerns over solar panel effectiveness on cloudy or rainy days. Even if the sun’s not directly beaming on the panels, it doesn’t mean the hues reflected from the sky aren’t being captured and converted in energy by the solar panel cells. With that being said, the direction that you place your panels does matter. Factors like shade from trees and buildings should be accounted for before installation.
7. Solar grids don't have to be bought outright
When it comes to upgrading your business's energy production, you surely aren't expected to pay for an entire grid outright. GridSwitch has partnered with lenders to provide low-interest solar panel financing for all of your energy grid needs.