Solar power has been around for centuries. Some of the uses date back to more than 700 years ago. That's not a big surprise really, because it is such a plentiful resource.
The earliest uses of solar power started with collecting the sun’s energy through magnifying glasses. By the 3rd century B.C., Greeks and Romans were bouncing sunlight off of “burning mirrors” to light sacred torches for religious purposes.
People use solar power for heating, cooking, and other critical applications that make our lives easy for many, many years. It’s easy to see why the sun has been such a valuable resource for humanity. If its rays can warm our bodies while we're merely wandering around outside, there must be other uses for it!
Solar power is gaining extreme popularity among consumers. Their installations are becoming more common with each passing year. You can see solar panels mounted on rooftops and in public spaces all around the world.
The Golden State generated more than 13,000 thousand megawatt-hours of solar power by November 2020 — more than 34 percent of the total across the U.S., according to EIA.gov's 2021 report on solar energy. Texas is second but is catching up quickly due to the rapidly dropping cost of solar panels.
Every hour, enough solar energy hits the Earth to supply all of humanity's electricity needs for a year. If we could capture one hour of solar energy each year, we could leave every ounce of oil, a lump of coal, and cubic foot of natural gas in the ground. This is the extent of the opportunity. For example, if the Mojave Desert gets covered in solar panels, it will generate over twice the electricity that the United States consumes each year.
Solar energy costs as little as 4.3 cents per kWh on an unsubsidized basis, making it cheaper than practically every new fossil-fuel power plant option. This is the most fun fact about solar energy. Natural gas is the cheapest fossil fuel choice, costing between 4.2 and 7.8 cents per kWh. So solar energy is likely already cheaper than coal, diesel, nuclear, and, in most instances, natural gas, depending on where you're going to produce it, particularly in the Southern United States. If past cost reductions are any indicator, solar will soon surpass all other forms of fossil fuel on a cost basis.
Another interesting fact about solar power is that Bell Laboratories created the first silicon solar cell in 1954, the forerunner of all solar-powered products. The New York Times states in their newspaper, “The dawn of a new era, leading to the fulfillment of one of humanity's most treasured dreams harnessing the sun's nearly endless energy for civilization's benefit.”
The space sector first embraced solar technology. The space industry began using solar technologies to provide power aboard spacecraft in the 1950s. The Vanguard 1, the world's first artificial earth satellite powered by solar cells, remains the oldest in orbit, traveled more than 6 billion miles.
Solar panel systems require almost zero maintenance, as there are no moving parts. Thanks to the durability of modern solar panels, warranties typically last 20-30 years — another testament to how reliable the technology actually is. With no moving parts and a design life of 400 plus years, consumers are able to enjoy their investment for many years to come.
There are two different types of solar power international: active and passive. Active solar technology includes photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors that harvest solar power. Building rooms to optimize air circulation and arranging space to use natural light are examples of passive technology. Another fact about solar energy is that modern technology such as photovoltaic cells, solar heating, artificial photosynthesis, solar architecture, and solar thermal power can capture the solar energy world, consisting of radiant heat and light from the sun.
One more interesting fact about solar energy that it has other uses as well. Turning solar energy into chemical energy by green plants through photosynthesis, resulting in the biomass that makes up fossil fuels.
Agriculture and horticulture both strive to make the most of solar energy. Techniques such as the timing of planting cycles and the mixing of plant kinds are examples of these. Greenhouses are also used to turn light into heat, allowing particular crops to be grown all year.
The number of solar energy systems installed in the United States topped 2 million in early 2019. This achievement comes only three years after the industry reached the one-millionth installation, which took 40 years to achieve. In addition, the sector is expected to reach 4 million installations in 2023, demonstrating solar's rapid growth as the world's fastest-growing energy resource. This is one of the most surprising facts about solar power.
Solar panel efficiency has been growing at the same rate as solar costs have decreased, thanks to the scientific community's focus on the need for solar technology innovation. To put it in context, the most efficient solar panel money could purchase five years ago was between 17 and 18 percent efficient. In 2020, homeowners in any part of the United States will be able to acquire inexpensive quotations for solar panels with efficiencies ranging from 20 to 23 percent. SunPower and Panasonic are the two most efficient solar cell manufacturers.
Many people know that solar energy can power trains, cars, and even space stations, but when Bertrand Piccard wanted to fly a solar-powered plane across the world with no other power source but the sun, many people were doubtful. So the Swiss pilot and professional traveler departed from Abu Dhabi in the famous Solar Impulse II plane in early 2016 and returned to the United States in July. The globe flight provided several photo opportunities and sent a message to the world about solar energy's limitless possibilities.
When shopping for solar panel installation, the more options you have, the better. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), consumers who received multiple quotes save about 10% on average — and in some cases, considerably more — compared to customers who got just one quote. To make sure you're getting the best price possible, don't hesitate to contact multiple installers and compare their offerings side by side.
Many people tend to think that bigger is better or believe that the biggest solar installers offer the best price. However, when it comes to solar energy, this couldn't be farther from the truth. By forgoing a large national brand for a local installer, you could save yourself $2,000 or more! The local installer may not be as well-known as the big guys — but they'll still get the job done right. While bigger installers tend to have more equipment options, smaller installers often offer customized solutions that can maximize your savings and provide a unique experience. If you have offers from the bigger companies, make sure to compare them with a local company so you won't become overpriced.
Comparing all choices for your solar panel equipment is important too. National-scale installers sometimes sell fewer equipment options, eliminating key choices that can have a significant impact on your system's electricity production. These companies may also be less prepared to offer custom solutions to your unique needs, such as sizing solar panels to match your energy demands.
While bigger installers tend to have more equipment options, smaller installers often offer customized solutions that can maximize your savings and provide a unique experience.
No matter how you slice it, there's no one-size-fits-all solar panel. There are a multitude of factors at play — power efficiency, financing, and more. While some panels are more efficient than others there are multiple factors at play such as the size of your system, power capability, and factors that determine your savings including financing. Solaris National can help you navigate the facts and understand if solar panel installation is right for you.
Solar power is booming worldwide, and there are no signs that it will slow down any time soon. The solar energy market is booming worldwide, with industry figures predicting that the solar power industry will continue to grow at a rapid pace for years to come. With its position in the market and its acceleration of growth, it’s no question that solar energy is a smart choice for homeowners who want to save money on their electricity bills.
Solar energy should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle — it’s affordable, popular, and it helps the environment. There’s no better time to harness the power of the sun than now.
If you're interested in becoming a part of the solar movement or learning more about solar panels for your home start here at SolarisNational.com.