Weird and Wonderful Facts About Solar Power
We see some indication of growing demand for solar power through our solar panel and battery installations in the Sutton and Croydon, but this is dwarfed by some of the staggering solar energy facts out there.
History of Solar Power
- Solar energy has been used since the 7th Century B.C. Glass lenses magnified the sun’s rays to make fire.
- The Greeks and Romans passively used solar. Designing buildings with windows that allowed the sun to heat and light indoor spaces.
- In 1447, Leonardo Da Vinci predicted industrial solar use to heat water. Some credit him as the inventor of the calculator. I bet he could not have predicted that by the 1970’s they would be powered by solar.
- Bell Labs created the modern silicon Photovoltaic cells in 1954. Since then the efficiency of these cells has increased by more than four times. The price has decreased significantly.
The 1970s was when the growth in renewable energy sources truly started. Governments became interested in funding research due to oil crises and environmental concerns. In recent decades, solar energy has gone from being a niche technology to a mainstream energy source. Advances in manufacturing, materials, and economies of scale has led to affordable solar panels.
Solar Energy Costs
- Solar panel costs have fallen 99% since 1977 According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
- Home owner break even on the solar panels systems in under 10 years. Most solar panels have a 25-year warranty.
- Solar panels need minimal to no maintenance and last for decades. There’s no recurring costs.
- Solar Energy is cheaper than all fossil fuels.
- The solar industry recorded record-breaking growth in 2020 despite the global pandemic. According to SEIA, solar panel installations shot up 43% over 2019.
- There’s enough solar energy hitting the Earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for an entire year.
- Every hour almost 100,000 solar panels are installed worldwide.
- Airplanes can fly around the world while running entirely on solar energy.
- The largest battery ever built is solar powered. Built by Tesla and located in Australia. The battery can power 30,000 homes for an hour. It may soon have competition as a project in Kent in the UK has started.
- The first solar power car dates back to the 1960 (or arguably earlier).
- Space missions rely on solar power and this goes back to the 1950’s. The Vanguard 1 was the first satellite to generate power through solar cells. It remains in orbit and has traveled farther over the Earth’s surface than any other human-made object.
The Future of Solar?
- Solar Power Stations in Space. In 2020 European Space Agency (ESA) launched a campaign into the feasibility of space-based solar power to support the provision of clean energy.
- Wearable solar. Scientists from the University of Tokyo and Japan’s RIKEN research institute are developing solar cell technology that can be integrated into our clothing. It has to be mentioned that Ralph Lauren unveiled a line of solar-powered backpacks in 2011. It was not a success.
- The Dutch offer us the world’s first Solar-Powered bicycle path. India came up with it’s first solar powered bicycle and E-bikes look to be taking off in the UK
- Solar-powered bins. These were trailed in the UK at Dundee University in 2012 and use solar power to compact materials, allowing them to hold up to eight times more rubbish than a standard model. Later versions of the same idea also talk!
There’s little doubt that solar technology will alter our lives in unexpected ways. There will probably some commercial flops too.
What does seem promising is the general move to a more decentralised energy source where individuals are empowered to produce their own electricity.
If you want to learn more about home solar panel installations please see the contact form below or contact me on 020 8914 8297 . We are never pushy! See our reviews:
We install solar panels and batteries in these South London (UK) areas:
Wallington, Purley, Carshalton, Coulsdon, Sutton, Croydon, Merton, Wimbledon, Streatham. Tooting, Mitcham, Reigate, Sevenoaks, Chipstead, Banstead, New Malden, Surbiton, Bromley, Beckenham.