Solar panels are well known for saving money for home and business owners alike and for their value in saving the planet. Still, there are probably plenty of solar facts you didn’t know. We’ve put together the top 10 “fun facts” about solar panels, covering history, capabilities, and investments. Here are our top 10 most interesting solar panel facts without any more delay!
Here Are The Top 10 Facts About Solar Power You May Not Know…
1. Solar Panels Work Fine With Indirect Light
That is right; solar panels can provide power no matter where the sun is. They can even generate energy in the shade! Solar radiation is everywhere; therefore, its photons will interact with the solar cells inside a panel no matter what direction the sunlight is coming from.
Granted, direct sunrays produce a higher electrical output. But you would be surprised how little being in indirect sunlight impacts solar panel generation. Solar panels capture all parts of the light spectrum to work quite well using direct light.
2. Solar Panels Have Been Around Since The 1940s
Humanity has been using solar energy for quite a long time. As we know it today, solar power dates back to the idea that sparked the technology, the photovoltaic effect. Edmond Becquerel, a French scientist, explained his discovered principle detailing how the sun’s rays could create an electrical current.
In 1941, Russel Ohl used the concept of the photovoltaic effect to create the first solar cell. Thus solar panels were invented!
In 1954, Bell Laboratories started manufacturing the first commercial panels creating the solar energy industry as we know it today. One of the more prominent uses of solar energy was producing electricity for beach radios during this time.
3. Solar-Powered Homes Reduce CO2 Emissions
To be exact, one hundred tons of CO2 emissions were eliminated over 30 years. This proves that solar power is renewable energy that critically impacts the use of fossil fuels. Using solar technology removes the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, pollution in our environment, and devastation to ecosystems.
Not to mention the amount of water we can save instead of being consumed to make energy. You read that right, and it takes clean water to produce energy. The average solar system size connected to your home will reduce five pounds of nitrogen oxide, eight pounds of sulfur dioxide, and over 1,400 pounds of CO2 emissions each month.
4. There are 23 times more solar power installations in the U.S. than 8 years ago
The growing popularity of solar power in the U.S. has made it the third-largest market worldwide. Solar technology keeps getting better and cheaper, resulting in many Americans going solar for their energy needs.
large corporations are also embracing clean energy power plants. This month, Facebook (now Meta) reached a critical environmental goal sooner than expected.
The social media company said it purchases enough renewable energy to run its operations globally. Microsoft, Apple, and Google have also committed to ambitious renewable energy goals.
5. You Can Get One Year’s Energy For The Planet From One Hour Of Sunlight
Did you know solar energy was that powerful? There are 1,000 watts of power per square meter, making the sun the most abundant energy source for our planet. As solar panel technology advances, the entire industry will eventually increase the amount of solar power we can harness.
Using the latest solar tech, solar panels can harvest approximately 23% of those 1,000 watts, and you see the benefits. Imagine utilizing the entire 100% of the energy the sun gives us. Solar technology advancement is the best solution to our energy needs because sunlight is everywhere.
6. California Is The Best State For Solar Energy
The west coast has been the biggest investor in solar panels for a while. Other parts of the country are catching on. But, in 2017 alone, California’s solar power generation reached 20,163 MW, or enough to power 3.7 million homes.
North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and New Jersey are next on the list trying to catch up. That won't be easy, as California has the best incentives for going solar and the best ecosystem for generating solar energy.
Despite the growing adoption of solar panels, some homeowners still hold misconceptions about this technology, including the belief in 10 common solar panel myths.
7. Solar Panels Generate 20 Watts Per Square Foot
On average, most solar panels produce 225 watts of power every hour. You can get up to almost 400 watts per hour with higher-quality solar panels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculates the average home in America uses 10,400 kWh annually (2019).
Therefore, you would only need 60 sq. ft. of rooftop space to provide all your energy needs with 20 efficient solar panels. For perspective, the average rooftop size is around 1700 sq. ft. So you will not need to cover your entire roof with solar panels to keep all your devices going.
8. Solar Energy Pays For Itself
Right now, United States homeowners can get a 30% tax credit on new solar systems, and they will offset their energy bills immediately upon installation.
Let’s say your solar system's price tag is around $30,000 (don’t worry, we have 0% financing available). That would give you $9,000 credit on your owed taxes. If you owe taxes, this credit will go against what you owe. Californians pay $0.21 per kWh, and, at the EIA average, that is $2,184 annually. To break it down with math, that means:
$30,000 – $9000 (tax credit) – $2,184 (year one energy savings) = $18,816 left
$18,816 / $2,184 = nine years + initial year = 10 years total
Our solar panels have a 25-year performance warranty; therefore, your system is paid off in 10 years (conservative estimate) and earns you pocket money for at least 15 years.
Due to solar panels' other incentives and benefits, most investors get their system paid off in 4-6 years. With panels becoming more efficient, your panels can go on to generate electricity for the next 25 years making your earnings that much more lucrative.
9. Airplanes Can Run On Solar Power
In 2016, the Solar Impulse 2 flew worldwide on nothing other than solar power. While it only carried one person, it was the breakthrough that will lead to future solar-powered jumbo jets. Solar energy is already powering cars and trains, so getting the airline industry on board with this renewable energy source is just a matter of time.
10. Solar Can Be A Community Thing
Community solar systems are now servicing neighborhoods for their energy needs. Now, instead of putting solar panels on one roof, entire communities can get a solar farm to power the block.
No matter what, having experts get this incredible power to you is a simple and easy process, especially with top-notch solar companies like Option One Solar.