Not too long ago, solar power seemed like something that was futuristic. It went from a subsidy-reliant idea to a practically unstoppable force of our electric future. There have been many decades of development and political debate regarding solar energy. After all this time the industry is starting to finally stand on its own.
Around the world, solar power projects are starting to beat out fossil fuels on pricing without the use of subsidies. Each time this happens, the future of solar looks a little brighter. Even with its popularity in the news and local companies such as Townsville Solar Power Gem Energy, many people don’t know that much about solar energy. Below are 10 things about solar you may not have known.
1. Most Abundant Energy Source
Each hour, there’s enough solar energy that hits the Earth to power all of humanity’s powering needs for an entire year. Every lump of coal, every ounce of oil and every cubic foot of natural gases can be left alone and unused if we were only able to capture an hour’s worth of solar energy each and every year.
2. Costs Decreased Significantly Since 1977
In 1977, the cost of a single solar cell was around $77 per watt. Today, the cost of a solar cell will only be around $0.21 per watt, while an entire assembled solar module will only cost around $0.39 per watt.
3. More Affordable Than Fossil Fuels
Solar energy is more affordable to produce than any other fossil fuel found on the planet. Depending on where you are looking to produce your solar energy, it is most likely much more affordable than diesel, coal, nuclear and most natural gasses already. If this pattern of cost reduction indicates anything at all, solar power will be much more affordable than any other fossil fuel on a cost basis very shortly.
4. Solar Plants Last Years
When solar plants are built, they are typically backed with a purchase agreement that lasts up to 25 years. However, most will last up to 50 years because the infrastructure built around a solar power plant contains a lot of value. Solar panels are easily replaced with more efficient models for a low cost.
5. China Leads In Solar Energy
Currently, China is the world leader for solar power by leaps and bounds. In 2017, China installed more than 50 gigawatts of solar power systems while the United States only installed around 12 gigawatts.
6. California Is U.S. Solar Power Leader
No state in the country is more involved in the solar industry than California. The state’s solar market is distributed between rooftop systems and many large solar power plants. Some of their solar power plants are larger than many others found around the world.
7. 2016 Saw 39% Of Electricity Produced From Solar
One of the reasons solar is part of the power plant mix is because it is very cost-effective. In 2016, almost 40% of the electricity produced in the United States came from solar. As the cost of solar goes down, more utility companies are looking for solar assets to offset fossil fuel costs.
8. Easiest And Quickest Energy Source To Deploy
When a disaster strikes and citizens are left without power, no electricity source is able to be repaired or built quicker and more easily than solar. Fossil fuel power plants take significantly longer to repair than solar plants do.
9. You Are Closer To Solar Panels Than You Think
While most people see huge solar plants in deserts on television and the news outlets, those are not all that is around you. Distributed solar is changing how we view energy. Solar power projects are everywhere from your neighbor’s roof to the big box retailers in town. Even though you cannot always see them, they are in more places than people realize.
10. Utility Companies Offering Help To Go Solar
For customers who want to transition to solar for their home electrical needs, many utility companies are offering many options to do so. If your home is not able to have solar panels installed, you may be offered the option to purchase energy derived from solar power over fossil fuels. Some communities around the country offer customers the ability to become power purchase agreement consumers for a variety of solar projects in their area.