Facts about solar energy

Facts about Solar Energy
  1. Free energy: Solar energy is a free energy resource that we have been able to harness to produce electricity for the past 100 years
  2. Storage: Solar energy can be stored in accumulation tanks (also called buffer tanks or heat buffers)
  3. Great potential: Solar energy is now recognized as one of the most potential future “green” energy resources and is considered a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels
  4. No pollution: Solar energy is non-polluting and helps in the fight against global warming (it is CO2 neutral)
  5. Stable energy: Solar energy is generally a very reliable and stable energy source
  6. Temporary energy source: Around the world today, solar energy is a popular way to cover temporary energy needs (e.g. accidents, military installations, Olympics, mining, etc.)
  7. Solar heated water: Solar energy is one of the cheapest and simplest technologies to heat water
  8. Distribution: Although solar energy is now one of the most widely used alternative energy sources, it only covers a very small part of the world’s total energy consumption
  9. Grants: In many countries, governments provide tax breaks and subsidies to individuals and companies that invest in solar energy
  10. Investment: The biggest challenge with solar energy today is that it generally requires very large investments to replace existing energy sources
The world's largest solar plant was completed in 2014
Attribution: Craig Dietrich – Flickr.com | Craig Butz – Wikipedia.org

Here is the world’s largest solar power plant ‘Ivanpah Solar Power Facility’ in the Mojave Desert, California, USA, which was completed on February 13, 2014. In this type of facility, a mass of mirrors reflect light onto a receiver at the top of the tower


Harnessing the power of the sun

  • Electricity: Solar energy can be converted into electricity via solar cells in photovoltaic systems (also known as solar power plants)
  • Temperature control: Solar energy can be used for heating, cooling and ventilation, among other things
  • Food & Beverage: Food can be cooked, dried and pasteurized using solar energy
  • Water: Solar energy can be used to produce drinking water, brackish water and salt water. The energy can also be used to purify wastewater, eliminating the need for electricity and chemicals
  • Water systems: Solar powered water systems use solar energy to heat water in agriculture, industry and households
  • Heat pumps: Solar-powered heat pumps use solar energy to heat, cool and distribute heat in households
  • Solar chimney: A solar chimney uses solar energy to draw the earth’s cold into a building, which has a cooling effect. In addition, they are also used to ventilate buildings
  • Small appliances: Solar energy can be used to power small electronic devices such as calculators
  • Spacecraft: Solar energy has been used on spacecraft since 1958
  • Transportation: For years, cars and boats have also been powered by solar energy – in practice, however, this application has never really caught on in the respective industries
  • Older applications: Some of the oldest uses of solar energy are making salt from salt water, growing plants in agriculture and drying clothes


Facts about solar energy

  • Life: The sun’s energy, along with water, is essential for life – as we know it – to exist on Earth
  • Water cycle: Solar energy plays an important role in the Earth’s water cycle: The earth, oceans and atmosphere absorb the sun’s energy, causing their temperatures to rise. Warm air rises from the ocean, creating convection. When the warm air rises high enough, clouds form and water vapor is compressed. The clouds bring the water back to earth in the form of precipitation, completing the water cycle
  • Fossil fuels: Through photosynthesis, plants convert the sun’s energy into chemical energy, creating biomass, which is the basis for fossil fuels
  • Watt per m2: The Earth receives around 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per m2
Fact: Solar energy has never really taken off as an energy source for transportation
Attribution: Hideki Kimura, Kouhei Sagawa + Maxim Massalitin – Wikipedia.org

Fact: Solar energy can also be used for transportation such as cars and boats – but it has never really caught on here on Earth. In spacecraft, on the other hand, solar energy is indispensable

You can read more about solar cells and solar panels here