Interesting Facts about Solar Energy

What exactly are the most interesting facts about solar energy? Here are some of the most notable:

#1 Brightness of our sun –

Less than 5% of the stars in the Milky Way are brighter or more massive than the sun.

#2 Nuclear Fusion –

Every second, 600 million tons of protons are converted into helium atoms in the Sun to be released as energy. Humankind only needs, on average, about 1/10,000 that amount of energy for its total consumption.

#3 Distance solar energy travels

The Sun is 93 million miles away from the Earth. It takes 8.3 minutes for light to travel this distance.

#4 Solar Energy Expiration Date

The Sun will exhaust its supply of hydrogen in about 5 billion years, at which time it will collapse under it’s own weight and become very hot. Eventually it will become big enough to swallow the orbits of Venus and even Earth.

#5 Solar has a less than 1% adoption rate in the United States

Seems like solar is everywhere these days, but how many of your neighbors have it?

#6 Solar panels are strung together like Christmas tree lights.

That means that if one panel goes out, the whole system goes down. It also means that typical solar arrays are very sensitive to shading (everything either adds or takes away from total system performance). That’s why microinverters are so interesting – each panel becomes it’s own production plant.

#7 Solar panel technology hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years.

Seems like we’re always on the verge of a major breakthrough in efficiency or technology (see solar shingles). But the solar panels going up on most roofs haven’t changed much in the last decade. The real factor in decreasing costs has been the increasing scale of production.

See also: Fun Facts about Solar Energy