Solar energy has been used for more than 2,700 years for heating, cooking, and other essential applications that make our lives more efficient. It’s obvious why the sun has been such an essential resource for humanity — if its rays can heat our bodies while we’re just walking around outside, there must be other things we can do with it!
Yet, solar energy technology really only came into its own in 1954, when Bell Laboratories created the first commercially viable solar cell. Since then, solar power has leaped into prominence as the fastest-growing sector of the energy economy, creating jobs at six times the rate of the general job market. There are just so many advantages to using solar energy whenever and however possible.
At Chariot Energy, we’re obviously big fans of solar energy and solar panels. It’s the reason we want to help Texans power their homes with solar power without needing to install panels on their homes. We want to share our love for the sun with you by assembling this fun list of facts about our industry, complete with some lesser-known tidbits that might surprise you.
13 Solar Energy Facts for the Eco-Friendly
Our sun is powerful. Not only is its energy virtually inexhaustible, but it’s also the most abundant source of energy on Earth. Fossil fuels just can’t compare. They don’t last as long, it takes eons to replenish, and they have a negative effect on the environment. So, let’s lay out the facts for why solar energy is truly one of the most environmentally friendly resources out there.
1. 174,000 terawatts of energy consistently strike the earth as solar radiation at any moment, even on the cloudiest of days.
2. One hour of sunlight is equivalent to one year’s worth of energy for the planet.
3. Solar energy produces no pollution when generating electricity.
4. Sunlight travels the 90 million miles to Earth in 10 minutes.
5. Solar power plants can last more than 40 years.
6. At around 1,000 acres, the world’s largest solar power plant is located in the Mojave Desert.
7. Solar energy is the cheapest source of energy in the world as of 2017.
8. Solar energy is cheaper than fossil fuels as of 2019.
9. China is the world leader in solar energy generation.
10. The United States is the third-largest solar energy market and generator in the world.
11. California generates the most solar energy in the United States.
12. More than 260,000 people worked in the solar energy industry in 2016.
13. Solar energy users save up to 35 tons of carbon dioxide and 75 million barrels of oil each year.
14 Solar Panel Facts for the Homeowner
While some of us probably created foil-lined solar ovens for a school science project, we also know solar energy will only be fully embraced when it feels just as convenient as conventional electricity.
Enter the solar panel. This delightful bit of technology can truly harness the power of the sun, converting into electricity to power homes and businesses around the world. More than any other renewable energy source, solar power has the most flexibility to deliver true energy change for our planet. Here are 14 facts about solar panels for the homeowner.
1. Alexandre Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839.
2. Russell Ohl created the first photovoltaic cell in 1941.
3. Bell Laboratories developed the first modern solar cell in 1954.
4. Over 2 million solar panel systems have been installed in the U. S. alone.
5. Homeowners experience “break-even” on their solar panel installation in under a decade.
6. Solar panels are the fastest energy source to set up.
7. Solar panels produce 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot.
8. Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to generate electricity.
9. To power the whole earth with solar energy, it would require 191,000 square miles of solar panels.
10. In 30 years, the average rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tons of carbon dioxide.
11. The average solar panel has a 25-year warranty.
12. The most efficient solar panels are made from monocrystalline silicon.
13. The city government of Las Vegas, NV operates on 100% renewable energy from solar panels.
14. The average solar panel system operates at 20% efficiency, meaning that it converts 20% of the sunlight that hits it into electricity.
You Can Make a Difference with Solar Power
The U.S. alone generates enough electricity from solar energy to power more than 11.3 million homes. And that number continues to rise as we pursue increased energy independence and reduce the effects of fossil fuels on the environment. By signing up for an electricity plan from Chariot Energy, you are showing the Texas energy industry that you value the expansion and development of increased solar energy capacity.
Once you fall in love with solar power, you can take additional steps to show people the importance of enhancing the green energy profile of Texas, the U.S., and the world. We recommend the following:
- Installing solar panels on your home
- Lobbying the state government to force utility companies to accept solar buybacks
- Asking your legislators to invest research dollars into improving batteries for renewable energy
- Convincing your family and friends to sign up for a solar power plan from Chariot Energy
We must make every possible stride to converting our society’s energy profile to completely renewable energy sources if we want to lower our collective carbon footprint, reduce global warming, and defeat climate change.