5 Fascinating Facts About Solar Energy Featured Image

Solar energy has really taken the world by storm over the past decade. The industry itself has grown exponentially and the cost of solar production has decreased over 70 percent. Solar energy has even become more inundated in mainstream media, houses, and businesses. But what is solar energy? And why has it gained so much popularity? Here are five interesting facts about the energy we harness from the sun.

1. Solar Energy Is the Most Abundant Energy Source

To give a bit more perspective, Energy Informative compares the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth every year to 40,000 times the total energy consumption in the United States and 8,000 times the consumption in the entire world. It would also be about 40 percent of the energy required to heat every drop of water on the Earth’s surface by one degree Celsius. That’s some serious power.

2. Solar Energy Is Everywhere

Chances are, there are solar panels on a home near you. Homeowners are installing panels as the cost of grid electricity begins to rise. This investment usually pays off after seven or eight years and grants a 20-year savings of an estimated $20,000. Even large corporations are spending more on renewable energy. In fact, according to the Solar Industries Energy Association, Target is the largest corporate solar energy buyer, followed closely by Walmart and Apple. Apple’s share of the energy market could power 39 million iPhones every day for a year.

3. Solar Panels Can Convert Energy

Solar Panels are created from two levels of silicon — a positive layer and a negative layer. These layers are filled with photovoltaic (PV) cells and create an electric field, similar to a battery. When the sun hits a solar panel, the PV cells absorb the light and use it to separate the photons from electrons, creating direct current (DC) electricity. However, this electricity is pretty useless as it cannot power anything in your home. Luckily, solar panels also come equipped with an inverter that converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC electricity runs through your net meter and powers everything within your home. Your leftover energy is donated to the power grid and saved for future uses (like once the sun goes down).

4. Solar Energy Isn’t Afraid of the Dark

Luckily, solar energy offers two options for night owls. First, your solar panels can go into standby mode until the morning. For the rest of the night, your power will be drawn from the utility grid. This option also works on cloudy days when solar energy is not prevalent enough to power all your electricity.

The second option is solar batteries. These batteries, usually included with solar panel installation, store energy from the sun throughout the day and act like a generator at night. This means that the excess energy created throughout the day is stored for your personal usage, instead of being sent back to the grid. While you might still rely on the grid once the battery is depleted, having this additional security can grant more control over energy finances. They also ensure that your house remains up and running in the case of a grid malfunction.

5. Solar Energy Has Been Around Forever

The future for solar energy seems brighter than the sun. By providing 24/7 power from a renewable resource at a fraction of the cost of other providers, solar energy is truly here to stay. These fascinating facts only touch on some of the amazing qualities of the sun’s energy and over the course of the next decade, there can only be more improvements and discoveries.

Originally posted at RuhaniRabin.com
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Ruhani Rabin being a tech and product evangelist for almost 20 years. He was VP, CPO for various digital companies. Plays with Drones in his free time.

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Ruhani Rabin

Ruhani Rabin being a tech and product evangelist for almost 20 years. He was VP, CPO for various digital companies. Plays with Drones in his free time.