Solar energy, the radiant power harnessed from the sun, has become a cornerstone of the renewable energy revolution. Solar energy use has been increasing as users have come to know the various benefits of solar energy despite a significant upfront cost. Yet, only 5% of the electricity in the whole world comes through solar energy. As technology advances, solar power continues to surprise us with its potential and versatility.
10 Surprising Facts about Solar Energy
In this blog, we delve into ten surprising facts about solar energy that highlight its significance in shaping a sustainable future for our planet.
- Abundant Energy Source:
The sun radiates an astonishing amount of energy. If we cover the whole Earth with solar panels, the amount of sunlight that hits Earth in one hour could meet the whole world’s energy demand for an entire year. Harnessing even a fraction of this energy could power the entire globe.
By using solar energy equipment at home, the whole day’s electrical needs can be easily met for a family.
- Direct sunlight not required:
The latest technology has offered many benefits to investors and users. One of the benefits is that solar panel technology has advanced so much that the solar panels do not require direct sunlight.
Before, solar panels were available in mono-facial technology. But now, bifacial solar panels are available in the market that can easily charge from both sides, keeping the required installation in mind.
- The Energy Payback Period:
Just like any other metric used to measure, the solar payback period measures the financial feasibility of the solar energy investment. The solar payback period is the time it takes for the savings generated from a solar energy system to equal the initial investment cost. In other words, it’s the duration required for the solar system to “payback” its own expense to investors through energy savings in utility bills and, government incentives like Net Metering.
For example, if you install an on-grid system that costs PKR 1,000,000 and save PKR 150,000 each year, the payback period would be 6.6 years. It means you will recover the initial investment after around six years. Since solar panels last up to 20 to 25 years, you can enjoy free electricity for another 19 to 20 years after recovering all the expenses and investment.
Solar panels have a surprisingly short energy payback period. Most solar panels pay back the energy used in their manufacturing within two to three years, after which they continue to generate clean energy for decades.
Due to the short payback period, many investors are investing here.
- Cheapest energy source:
Solar energy is the cheapest energy source all over the world despite the significant upfront cost. Solar energy equipment has become more affordable as technology has evolved.
Due to the life of solar equipment being around 25-30 years, if we divide the cost by each month, the total remains much less. The increasing electricity prices also do not affect the users.
- Solar-Powered Vehicles:
Solar-powered cars are becoming a reality. Many vehicle manufacturers have launched a full line of EVs and some are trying to completely remodel the car energy modules to be carbon-free.
While fully solar-powered cars are still in the experimental stage, solar panels integrated into electric cars can extend their range significantly. These panels harness sunlight to charge the car’s battery, enhancing efficiency and reducing reliance on external charging stations.
Solar energy is propelling innovation in the aviation industry. Solar-powered aircraft, equipped with solar panels on their wings, can fly for extended periods without fuel, showcasing the potential of renewable energy in transportation.
- Solar Energy in Agriculture:
In Pakistan, a significant number of farmers have installed solar power systems to meet their electrical needs. Solar energy benefits agriculture in multiple ways. Solar-powered irrigation systems enable efficient water usage, while solar dryers preserve crops. Additionally, solar energy supports sustainable farming practices, contributing to food security and environmental conservation. At the same time, they save a lot of money that otherwise would have gone to utility bills.
- Solar Energy in Disaster Relief:
Solar energy plays a vital role in disaster-stricken areas, just like any remote area where electricity is not present. Portable solar panels and solar-powered generators provide immediate access to electricity for emergency medical services, communication devices, and lighting, aiding relief efforts in the aftermath of natural disasters.
- Solar Energy Is Older Than You Think
While solar panels might seem like a modern invention, the concept of solar energy dates back to ancient times. The Greeks and Romans used architectural techniques to capture the sun’s warmth for heating water in their bathhouses. Even, Mughals in subcontinent also used solar energy for lighting and heating purposes. The idea of utilizing solar energy for practical purposes has been around for centuries.
- Solar Energy Is Silent and Low-Maintenance
Solar energy systems operate silently, producing electricity without noise pollution. Additionally, solar panels require minimal maintenance. Once installed, they have no moving parts, reducing the risk of wear and tear. Regular cleaning and occasional checks are usually sufficient to keep solar panels functioning efficiently for years.
- Solar Energy Is Impacting Developing Countries
Solar energy plays a transformative role in developing countries, especially in areas with limited access to electricity. Solar-powered microgrids provide communities with clean and reliable energy, improving living conditions, enhancing education, and supporting economic growth. Solar energy bridges the gap, bringing power to remote regions and empowering people.
These surprising facts about solar energy highlight its versatility, innovation, and transformative potential. As the world increasingly embraces renewable energy solutions, solar power stands at the forefront, illuminating the path toward a sustainable and cleaner future. By harnessing the sun’s power, we not only reduce our dependence on fossil fuels but pave the way for a more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient world.
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