Solar energy is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy available today. It is clean, efficient, and has the potential to meet a large percentage of our energy needs.
Despite all of its benefits, solar energy still faces some challenges regarding public perception. In particular, some people find it difficult to believe that solar power can be a viable source of energy for the future. In this blog post, we will explore 10 fun facts about solar energy that may change your mind about this amazing source of power!
1) Solar is cheaper than fossil fuels
It is often said that solar energy is expensive, and it's true that if you want panels installed, it will cost you.
But solar power has become more affordable as the technology has improved and the cost of materials has decreased. So, easily the first among renewable solar energy facts: it’s cheaper than ever, and at market price, is even cheaper than fossil fuel energy. In addition, the cost of solar energy continues to decline each year. This is due to the increasing popularity of solar energy and technological advances that make the process more efficient. That's why even BloombergNEF say that solar has gotten so cheap that it's cheaper than fossil fuels.
2) Solar panels can last for 25 years or longer
Solar panels have a life expectancy of 25 years or more. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy for many years without having to worry about replacement costs. That's because solar panels don't have moving parts and need hardly any maintenance.
In addition, solar panels can continue to work well even after they reach the end of their life expectancy; 25 years isn't a hard limit and is guaranteed to remain above 80% during that time! So, you can rest assured that your solar panels will provide you with power for many years, regardless of their age.
3) Photovoltaic cells were invented way back in 1839
The photovoltaic effect was first discovered in 1839 by a French physicist named Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. However, it wasn't until the late 20th century that solar panels started being used to generate electricity. It took a while for the technology to catch on because solar panels were expensive to produce and not very efficient.
Becquerel was only 19 years old at the time of his discovery. Imagine discovering world-changing technology as a teenager!
4) You can make money with solar energy
One of the great things about solar energy is that it can help you save money on your energy bills. But did you know that you can also make money from solar?
That's because you can sell unused solar energy to the grid. Although your solar panels generate electricity that you can use yourself, any excess energy is stored in a battery or sent back to the grid. You get credit for this energy, which can be used to offset your energy bills in the future.
5) Solar energy travels 8 minutes to get here
Believe it or not, it takes the sun's light and heat eight minutes to reach the earth. That's because the sun is so far away that even at the speed of light, it takes eight minutes to go from the sun to the earth.
6) Solar energy is more than just capturing sunlight
The sun produces many different kinds of energy: light, heat, and even X-rays and electromagnetic energy. Besides using photovoltaic cells to generate energy from sunlight—which is how solar panels work—you can also capture solar thermal energy using huge mirrors. Mirrors and lenses capture heat and light and can heat things up for big industrial processes.
7) You can harness solar energy without expensive tech
Although solar panels are the most popular way to harness solar energy, there are other ways to do it.
For hundreds of years, people have been making solar ovens. These are boxes lined with mirrors, foil, or something else that's reflective. When placed in the sun's light, they focus the light to heat whatever's in the box: food, water, or anything else you might want to be heated up. Although these might not sound that useful for life in the suburbs, they're great for camping, especially if you're somewhere sunny!
8) The Romans used solar energy
Time for some fun solar energy history facts!
The ancient Romans were some of the first people to take advantage of solar energy. According to Engineering Rome: "The design of the Baths of Caracalla and the Forum Baths at Ostia were such that there were many large south-facing windows so that the sun could heat and provide natural light to the warm sections of the baths. [...] Glazing the south-facing windows helped trap heat and the hollow tiles used in the floors radiated heat. The facades of the hot rooms received sunlight from early afternoon to sunset [and] the thick walls and floors had the ability to store thermal energy so that the Baths wouldn’t cool down too substantially at night."
9) Today's panels are incredibly efficient compared to earlier models
Although solar panels used to be expensive and not very efficient, that's no longer the case.
In some of the first proper laboratory tests on PV cells, they weren't even 1% efficient. That means they could convert only 1% of the energy in the sun's light into usable electricity. Today's best commercial panels for domestic use are almost 25% efficient, which is leaps and bounds better than even ten or twenty years ago.
10) You can 'group-buy' solar panels to reduce their cost
As for facts about solar energy in the UK, how about the fact that panels just got a whole lot cheaper?
Solar panels still aren't widely used by households, largely because of high purchase and installation costs. You can typically expect to pay £7,000 or more for a basic solar system—at least, you could before Solar Together. Solar Together is a group-buying scheme that makes solar panels and batteries more accessible and affordable for everyone. Group-buying is a great way to install solar panels on your property. By pooling our resources together everyone can make a saving. Even better, we vet suppliers for the quality of their service so that you don't have to. Beyond that, we even offer optional add-ons like battery storage and EV charge point installation and insurance-backed guarantees for customer protection.
We understand why that might sound too good to be true. So, why not learn more through our Blog?