Sun and Solar Energy Facts

solar energy

One hour of sunlight can power the entire world for a day.

Energy costs are steadily rising, and all the while sunshine abundantly provides an environmentally friendly clean energy solution.  Resources are available in every state in the United States to help homeowners, businesses, government institutions, and nonprofits tap into the sun’s energy.  When you know a few facts about the sun and solar power, you can see that it just makes sense to take advantage of city, state, and federal incentives to use solar power.

About the Sun

• The sun is how much bigger than Earth?  1 million times larger!
• Every day the sun provides approximately 300 BTUs of heat to each square foot of our planet’s surface.
• All of Earth’s energy needs for an entire year are provided by one hour of solar energy.
• The earth absorbs about 50% of the sun’s energy, and another 30% is reflected from the surface.

About Solar Power

solar installation

Installing solar panels is the only type of home improvement that pays for itself.

• The importance and benefit of the sun’s energy has been recognized throughout history.  Early architectural designs prove that buildings were constructed in a way which took advantage of the sun’s warmth.  In 1447, Leonardo Da Vinci predicted that solar industrialization was coming.
• Based on Albert Einstein’s description of the nature of sunlight and the photoelectric effect, the first photovoltaic technology emerged.  This research earned Einstein a Nobel Prize in physics.
• The first photovoltaic module was built in 1954 at Bell Laboratories.
• The 1960s space industry used solar technology.
• Photovoltaic technology became an accepted source of power for non-space applications during a 1970s energy crisis.
• Approximately 90% of the earth’s commercially produced solar energy is generated in the Mojave Desert in California at the world’s largest solar power plant.
• In the last five years, the production of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has seen a dramatic increase.  From 2008 to 2009 alone, the amount of solar electricity produced by residential solar panels doubled, as did the home solar market.
• The cost of solar panels dropped about 40% in the recent years, which means solar energy is more affordable for homeowners than ever.
• Power generated from solar PV panels emits no greenhouse gases and causes no water or air pollution.  In fact, solar provides the cleanest energy in the world.
• The leader in solar panel installations is Germany, followed by Italy, Japan, and the U.S.
• Solar energy can be used to power:  water heaters, attic fans, cars, small appliances, calculators, and much more.  Solar energy can even be used to cook food.
• Worldwide, the current demand for solar energy is much greater than solar panel manufacturers have been able to keep up with.
• Installing solar panels is one of those home improvements that actually pays for itself.

Why not check into the available incentives which could help you save money by tapping into the clean energy from the sun?  You’ll do much more than enjoy a smaller energy bill; you’ll also help to keep our air cleaner. Check out the NASS member page to find a qualified and reputable solar store in your area to get more information on how solar can work for you.

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