8 Surprising facts about Solar Power

Tania Tahseen

Tania Tahseen

Solar Performance Specialist

facts about solar power, facts about solar panels, facts about solar energy

1. Earth's most abundant energy source is solar power

The sun's energy is the most abundant energy source on earth, striking the planet continuously at 173,000 terawatts. This is more than 10,000 times the world's total energy consumption. It is estimated that the amount of solar energy that falls on Earth's surface in one hour equals the total annual energy consumption of every person on the planet. The energy produced by the sun in 20 days is equal to the energy generated by all of the coal, oil, and natural gas on Earth combined. Direct solar radiation reaches about 1,366 watts per square meter on earth.

2. Solar electricity has been around since 1839

The photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, who could create an electric current using the sun's rays. Selenium was the first material used in solar cells by American inventor Charles Fritts in 1883. In spite of Fritts' hopes, his solar cells were less than 1% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity and therefore not very practical compared to Edison's coal-fired plants.Bell Laboratories produced the first commercially available solar panel in 1954 with the invention of Russell Ohl's first solar panel cell.

3. How solar cells work

Solar cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon. When a ray of light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. As a result, the absorbed light's energy is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy absorbed knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely.

A PV cell also has one or more electric fields that force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a particular direction. In a PV cell, the flow of electrons is a current, and we can use that current for external purposes by placing metal contacts at the top and bottom. Combined with the solar cell's voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), this current determines the power (or wattage) it can produce.

That's the basic working process of solar cells to generate electricity, but there's really much more to it.

4. Solar energy improves world health

The combustion of fossil fuels emits harmful gasses like methane and carbon dioxide, which reduce the quality of the air. In addition to anxiety, headaches, pneumonia, heart attacks, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies, air pollution can affect our health and well-being. Your health is greatly improved when you use solar energy to reduce carbon emissions in the air you breathe. During the 30-year lifespan of an average rooftop solar panel system, 100 tons of carbon dioxide can be reduced! This means cleaner air for everyone on earth.

5. Solar panels can power airplanes

Think again if you still think solar energy is just a fad. There are a number of large companies investing a lot of money in developing solar-powered airplanes. The first person to jump out of a solar-powered airplane even became internet famous. Among the first industries to adopt solar technology was the space industry. It wasn't until the 1950s that spacecraft started using solar technology to power themselves. As the first solar-powered earth satellite, Vanguard 1 remains the oldest human-made satellite in orbit, logging more than 6 billion miles.

6. Solar installation in India

There are about 300 sunny and clear days in a year in India, resulting in about 5 quadrillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy being absorbed by the land. In one year, solar energy produces more energy than all of the fossil fuel energy reserves in the country combined. According to available, commercially-proven technology, the daily average solar-power-plant generation capacity in India is 0.30 kWh per m2 of used land area, which equates to 1,400–1,800 peak-capacity operating hours per year.

Besides being a fast-growing industry, solar power in India has a total installed capacity of 61.625 GW AC as of 31 October 2022. India ranks fourth globally in terms of solar power generation in 2021.

As initially planned, the Indian Government intended to build 20 GW of capacity by 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule. By 2022, the target was raised to 100 GW (including 40 GW of rooftop solar), with an investment of US$100 billion.The Indian government has established nearly 42 solar parks to make land available for solar plant developers.

In 2018, rooftop solar power accounted for 2.1 GW, of which 70% was industrial or commercial. Additionally, India is developing off-grid solar power for local energy needs in addition to its grid-connected PV initiative. As solar products become more prevalent, rural needs are being met; just under one million solar lanterns were sold in 2015, reducing the requirement for kerosene.A national programme provided 1,18,700 solar home lighting systems and 46,655 solar street lighting systems; over 14 lakh (1.4 million) solar cookers were distributed.

7. Solar panels can generate power without direct sunlight

That's right! It's true what you read. A common misconception about solar panels is that they work best on hot summer days. Extreme heat, however, can have a negative effect on PV panel efficiency by up to 30%. Temperatures between 15°C and 35°C are ideal for PV panels. For a detailed review of how weather conditions affect solar panels, please check our blog.

8. You can earn by Going Solar

It is well known that adopting clean energy can lead to a better future. Let's talk about net metering! The use of net metering makes switching to renewable energy resources more affordable. You can transfer your excess electricity to the grid through this method of billing. Nonetheless, your solar installation, either on your roof or on your land, generates more electricity during the daytime, sometimes even more than you use every day. Additionally, in off-grid systems, this excess energy is used to charge batteries. However, if any energy remains, it will be wasted. Net-metered houses, however, will send their excess electricity to the grid. A net meter measures the total electricity usage, and you will only be billed for the net usage.

Tania Tahseen

Tania Tahseen

Solar Performance Specialist

Sunson Energy is a residential solar installation company with projects all over Delhi NCR. We bring solar to your home. Get a quote today.

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