Solar energy is experiencing never before seen growth and popularity. As individuals and businesses look more deeply into renewable energy sources, they are finding over and over again that solar energy is the optimum choice. Let's look at a few surprising facts about solar energy that you may not have been aware of.
It Is Most Abundant
Many people have asked, "Is solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth?" Yes, solar is the most abundant form of any energy on earth. Of all of the clean energy options, solar energy is by far the most abundant. It is estimated that 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike the earth daily. That is actually 10,000 times more energy than the world even uses.
Solar Has Been Around for a While
The technology to harness solar energy has been around since 1954 when the first silicon solar cell was built. Even way back then, it was hoped that this would be the beginning of clean energy solutions for the world. The New York Times wrote in 1954 of the invention that it could be, "the beginning of a new era, leading to the…harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun." Unfortunately, in the 67 years since then, more progress has not been made to make that hope a reality. It was not for lack of technology or lack of resources, but rather due to the greed propagated by those who profit from fossil fuels.
It Was First Used In Space
Solar energy was first used effectively not on earth but in outer space. As early as the Vanguard 1 solar energy was used to provide power to satellites. The Vanguard 1 remains the oldest man-made satellite still in orbit. It has traveled almost 6 billion miles.
Demand Is on the Rise
As more and more people realize the energy crisis we are in, the demand for solar power is on the rise. Just over the past eight years, the number of solar panels installed has increased by 23%. The US is now the third largest solar energy producer in the world. It is estimated that soon the US will be second.
It Will Become More Affordable
Today a big question remains, "Is solar power the cheapest energy source in the world?" Many homeowners worry that they will never be able to afford solar energy because of the soft costs of the initial installation. These prices are decreasing as solar panels, equipment and materials become more easily accessible. As prices come down, solar power will become even more readily available to all.
The largest solar-powered facility in America is in the Mojave Desert in CA. This particular plant has the unique technological advantage of storing solar energy for future use. This makes it highly efficient at supplying the energy needs of surrounding communities.