With energy bills sky-rocketing, renewable energy and getting your home off-grid is an investment for the future. Solar energy, in particular, is booming with over 1.7 million rooftops across Australia already using solar panels.

Solar energy systems offer a huge range of benefits for your home or business including sustainable, 100% renewable energy supply, but more importantly, it supplies FREE energy.

But let’s leave the practical facts aside and talk about some fun facts about solar. So, here are 5 interesting facts about solar energy that might help you see the light!

 

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Solar energy is almost 200 years old

Although it seems like a more modern technology that we have only recently started harnessing and adapting on our homes and into our energy industry, solar power was discovered by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839 when he found the ‘photovoltaic effect’ of electricity generation from direct sunlight. Jump forward to 1941 with the invention of transistors and inventor Russell Ohl who created the solar cell.

Now solar panels span the globe, whether on homes or on tiny calculators; installed from cities to the most remote indigenous tribes, supplying safe, renewable energy.

 

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NASA has been using solar energy since the 1950s

That’s right – the space industry was one of the first adopters of solar technology. It seems obvious when you think about it, but NASA has adopted solar technology for ages – opting for solar technology aboard the satellite Vanguard 1. It’s currently the oldest satellite, fits into the palm of your hand, was launched into orbit in 1958 and has 6 silicon solar cells that generate about 1 watt of energy. It used the electrical power generated by the solar cells to send radio signals back to Earth. It survived for 6 years before going silent!

Nowadays NASA uses solar panels for all sorts of purposes:

“Today, the International Space Station has 84 kW of solar panels, which provide all its power, including life support systems for the 6 crew, communications and scientific equipment. Rechargeable batteries provide power during the 35 out of every 90 minutes that the station is in the shadow of the Earth.” source

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The World’s largest solar farm is in…

…China. (as of the date of this publication – now many countries are competing to have the world’s largest solar farm, so this could change at any time!)

“…don’t expect the Tengger facility to hold that “largest” status for long. Work is ongoing on even larger solar projects in India, Egypt, and the United States.” source

China boasts the world’s largest solar farm in Tengger Desert Solar Park, Ningxia – the ‘Great Wall of Solar’. The desert covers 36,700 km in Mongolia and the solar farm covers 1,200km. It is owned by China’s National grid and became operational in 2017. It is massive and is able to supply safe, renewable energy to 600,000 homes.

“The completion of the Tengger facility helped push China’s installed solar capacity above 176 gigawatts. The country is, by far, the world’s leader in terms of installed capacity, with about 32 per cent of the global total.” source

India is also growing heavily investing in its solar power and is building large farms in order to compete with China and other large economies.

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It’s 100% renewable and 100% safe

Solar energy is completely renewable. The sun has existed for about 4 1/2 billion years and has used about half of the hydrogen in its core. Scientists expect the sun to survive and carry on shining for another 5 billion years, so we have plenty of time left to harness its energy.

The energy supplied by the sun and converted with a solar energy system is 100% clean; it gives off no harmful waste bi-products, unlike nuclear energy or fossil fuels and homes with solar energy systems have the ability to become 100% self-sustaining. This can be incredibly useful to k=not only reduce your energy costs but can protect homes and businesses against Australia’s neverending blackouts.

 

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You can store solar energy in salt

A salt plain
We wrote a blog post about this some time ago including the Californian solar farm that can store 10 hours of energy in their salt tower. By storing solar energy in molten salt solar farms create a gigantic battery, of sorts, to store energy for when the sun isn’t shining.

Are you interested in solar for your home or solar for your business or are you curious about the benefits?

You can find out more information on our solar page or get in touch.

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