These days, it seems like solar energy is everywhere. Since alternative and sustainable power sources are a growing business, it makes sense that more and more people would know about solar energy and how it works.
However, even though we’re finding out so much about this type of electricity, there is still a lot that we don’t know. So, with that in mind, we wanted to take a moment to look at the top seven facts that you probably haven’t heard about solar energy.
#1 There’s More of it Than We Could Possibly Use
If we were somehow able to harness all of the power generated by the sun, we would have an abundance that would never go away. On average, everyone in the world uses about 18 terawatts of energy every year (one terawatt is equivalent to nearly five billion barrels of oil).
For comparison, the sun produces about 173,000 terawatts at all times, every day. As such, we could use that amount of energy for approximately 10,000 years before we’d run out. And that’s just one second of sunlight hitting the earth.
#2 Space Was the First Frontier
Before we started putting solar panels on our homes, the first units were sent into space. The oldest satellite in operation, the Vanguard I, was one of the pioneers of solar power. To date, it has traveled over six billion miles.
#3 Solar Jobs are On Fire
Right now, the solar industry is creating jobs at a breakneck pace. Compared to the overall job market, solar jobs are coming out about six times as frequently. This advanced speed doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, thanks to a worldwide need for clean, renewable energy.
#4 The Technology is Older Than You Think
Solar power has been around since 1954 when the first silicon solar cell was invented by Bell Laboratories. At the time, the New York Times hailed its development as the dawn of a new era.
#5 A Cleaner Future, With Some Exceptions
Although solar energy is much cleaner than burning fossil fuels, that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% waste-free. Currently, the process of manufacturing the photovoltaic cells produces some chemicals and materials that have to be handled and stored safely.
#6 California Has the Largest Solar Power Plant
The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in the Mojave Desert is the world’s largest producer of solar energy. Since 2014, this facility has been able to produce up to 400 megawatts per year. This is about 30% of all solar power generated in the US.
#7 We Use a Lot Less Than You Think
Currently, less than 1% of all of our energy produced in the United States comes from solar power. Even though the demand is increasing and the costs are going down, we still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, the future is looking bright.
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