Many clients of our solar consulting services want to learn more about the basics of solar before beginning installation. This list of facts provides a general understanding of the industry and how solar energy is spreading across the globe. The solar industry has grown immensely since Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839. We have developed technologies to efficiently generate enough solar energy to illuminate, power, heat and cool everything from appliances to sprawling buildings.
Read on to learn some interesting facts about how the solar industry is shaping the way our world powers up.
1. Solar is the Most Abundant Energy Source
Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy source on the planet. It is the cleanest available source and emits no greenhouse gases or other pollution into the atmosphere. Solar panels generate energy silently; there is no noise pollution involved.
2. Two Ways to Harness Solar Power
Electricity is harnessed from the sun using either Solar Thermal or Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology. Solar Thermal utilizes heat from the sun while Solar PV technology uses semiconductors to convert sunlight directly into energy. Silicon is often used as the semiconductive material in solar panels. While all solar technologies are experiencing steady growth, PV is growing more than any other.
3. Standard Measures
Just like all other forms of electricity, solar energy is measured in watts. On average, solar panels generate eight to 10 kilowatts per square foot and yield 200 to 250-watt capacities.
4. No Direct Sunlight Necessary
Solar energy can be harnessed during cold and cloudy skies. While direct sunlight generates the most power, solar panels can produce power in less sunny conditions.
5. Germany Leads the Way
Despite having fewer sunny skies than most countries, Germany produced 29 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2016. This year, they broke a national record on April 30 for deriving 85 percent of its energy from sustainable sources that day. Recent studies show that Germany has more 1.7 million solar systems owned by citizens. The country’s goal is to generate 80 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2050.
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