10 Fun Facts about Solar

The solar industry is full of technical articles, design innovations, and policy changes.  Sifting through all this information can be daunting, so I have compiled a list of some interesting facts you may not have known about Solar Power. 

  • The first practical solar cell was created by Bell Laboratories in 1954.  It only produced 1 Watt of energy and cost $250 for that 1 Watt.
  • If you covered 10,000 square miles of land in the American Southwest, it would generate enough power to meet the energy needs of the entire United States.  Although this seems like a lot of land, the US has strip-mined an equivalent amount for coal.
  • Half of the solar panels produced worldwide are consumed by Japan in their residential sector.
  • Just like the rest of life on earth is controlled by the sun, wind is caused by radiant heating and cooling.  In theory, this makes wind energy the perfect complement to solar.
  • Fossil fuels are simply a form of stored solar energy.
  • Albert Einstein earned a Nobel Prize in physics for explaining photovoltaic effect (creation of electricity from the sun’s rays).
  • At any given time, the Earth receives 174 petawatts of energy from the sun.  This is equivalent to 174 Trillion kilowatts and is 6,000 times our worldwide energy usage.
  • The largest solar electric plant in the world is located in Germany, who has half the solar resource of the United States.
  • Production of 1 kilowatt of solar energy is equivalent to burning 170 pounds of coal which releases 300 pounds of carbon dioxide.  This is comparable to preventing 15 gallons of gas from ever being used.
  • The total amount of fossil fuels used by humans since the beginning of civilization is equivalent to less than 30 days of sunshine. 

The list could go on forever.  Hopefully, it helped spark your interest in solar electricity and presented you with some cognitive fodder!