Solar Energy Facts

Some fascinating solar facts

•It would take only around 0.3 per cent of the world's land area to supply all of our electricity needs via solar power.
•Weight for weight, advanced silicon based solar cells generate the same amount of electricity over their lifetime as nuclear fuel rods, without the hazardous waste. All the components in a solar panel can be recycled, whereas nuclear waste remains a threat for thousands of years.
•Solar and wind power systems have 100 times more efficient lifetime energy yield than either nuclear or fossil energy systems per ton of mined materials.
•The amount of energy that goes into creating solar panels is paid back through clean electricity production within 1.5 - 4 years, depending on where they are used. This compares with a serviceable life of decades.
•The theoretical limit for silicon based solar cells is 29% conversion efficiency. Currently, polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels generally have efficiencies anywhere from 12% to 18%. With the addition of solar concentrators, the efficiency of photovoltaics is likely to rise above 60 percent.
•The Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year.
•Wind is a form of solar power, created by the uneven heating of the Earth's surface.
•Solar radiation, wind and wave power, hydro power, and biomass make up 99.97% of the available renewable energy on Earth.
•The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s.
•Solar energy prices have decreased, on average, 4% per annum over the past 15 years.
•Manufacturing solar cells produce 90% less pollutants than conventional fossil fuel technologies.
•The solar industry creates 200 to 400 jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation for every 10 megawatts of solar power generated annually
•One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.
•One kilowatt-hour (kWh) equals the amount of electricity needed to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
•A sunny location (like Los Angeles, California, US) receives an average of 5.5 hours of sunlight per day each year.
•A cloudy location (like Hamburg, Germany) receives 2.5 hours per day of sunlight each year.
•A 1 kilowatt peak solar system generates around 1,600 kilowatt hours per year in a sunny climate and about 750 kilowatt hours per year in a cloudy climate.
•A solar energy system can provide electricity 24 hours a day when the solar electric modules are combined with batteries in one integrated energy system.
•Solar modules produce electricity even on cloudy days, usually around 10-20% of the amount produced on sunny days.
•The typical components of a solar home system include the solar module, an inverter, a battery, a charge controller (sometimes known as a regulator), wiring, and support structure.
•A typical silicon cell solar module will have a life in excess of 20 years.
•Monthly average residential consumption of electricity in the US in 2008 was 920 kilowatt hours. (Source: US DOE)
•Monthly average residential electricity bill in the US in 2008 was $103.67. (Source: US DOE)