Solar energy is becoming more accessible and available to the public. More homeowners are choosing to install solar panels, and many businesses are electing to switch over to this more sustainable energy. With more people using solar power, here are five interesting facts to know about solar energy that may impact the way you understand it.
1. Harnessing the Sun Dates Back to 700 BC
Even in ancient times, humanity understood the power of the sun to provide light and heat. In the BC years, people would use lenses to light fires. For example, the ancient Greeks and Chinese used positioned mirrors to aim the sun’s rays to light torches.
2. Solar Energy Began in 1839
When solar energy creates an electrical current, it’s known as the photovoltaic effect. Edmond Becquerel discovered this effect all the way back in 1839!
Proper solar cells came out a little over 100 years later, in 1954. As technology improved, engineers and scientists learned how to collect and store solar energy. This advancement eventually led to an understanding of lithium-ion batteries, which are commonplace in many modern solar panel systems.
3. The Speed of Solar Energy
One interesting fact to know about solar energy is how much of this free energy source we receive. Light from the sun takes only ten minutes to travel 90 million miles to reach Earth. As the Earth spins, somewhere on Earth is always receiving this light, making it a constant and abundant source of energy.
4. Lack of Oil Led to Research Into Solar Technology
While information on the effects of solar power and cells existed in the mid-1900s, it wasn’t until the oil crisis of 1970 that government scientists began putting more effort into researching renewable energy options. This oil crisis caused extensive research into solar and wind-based energy sources.
5. The World’s Largest Solar Power Plant
As of 2022, the largest solar panel farm in the world is in India. The 14,000-acre field is in Rajasthan and currently has over 10 million solar panels and a capacity of 2.25 gigawatts. Thanks to the dry desert heat of that area, this farm produces hefty amounts of clean, sustainable energy.