19 Aug 9 facts about solar energy
The solar industry is forever changing and with its rapid growth. Here are some facts that you may not know about solar energy!
Even accounting for the weather variation, the average solar power received across Earth peaks at 23 million gigawatts! This makes solar the most abundant energy resource on the planet! In comparison, a standard sized nuclear plant is one gigawatt.
As of the beginning of 2014, more than 500,000 households have solar PV (photovoltaic).
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) released the results of an opinion poll on public attitudes to energy. The result found that yet again solar is the nation’s favourite source of energy. More than 80% of Britain voted to support solar power!
A solar airplane has recently set a world record for flying around the world without a drop of fuel. By using SunPower solar cells, the airplane was capable being the first solar plane to fly around the world. The SunPower modules were selected for the project because they are the most efficient and durable solar cells available. Below is a photograph of the solar plane:
The oil crisis in the 1970s led to a greater interest in renewable energy, nuclear power and domestic fossil fuels. This is when the likes of solar and wind energy began to increase in popularity.
With the interest in renewable energy gaining traction, many countries and governments now offer a financial incentive for people to have energy products installed with over 50 countries getting involved! In October 2008 the United Kingdom announced that Britain would implement a scheme by 2010, this was later introduced in the beginning of 2010. As of 2012 there were 263,274 systems totalling 1,152MW receiving the FIT (feed in tariff)
When people talk about solar panels, they are usually referring to the solar PV (photovoltaic) panels that produce electricity, however there are panels the produce just hot water, these panels are known as solar thermal and as of 2014 you are able to benefit from a government scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI covers Solar Thermal, Biomass Boilers, Ground to Water heat pumps, Air to Water heat pumps and Biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers providing space heating.
Since there are no running parts in the solar panels, there is minimal wear and tear of the equipment. This is why the maintenance requirements of the solar energy systems are very low. As solar installers, one of the main questions we get asked is how long both Solar PV and Solar Thermal panels will last for – Unlike many household products we purchase, the solar panels will usually come with a warranty for 25 to 30 years which means that they are guaranteed for decades. Of course, this doesn’t mean the moment they come out of warranty they will fail and need to be replaced but they will continue to still produce clean electricity, although this will be at a slightly less efficiency each year.
10% of the UK’s renewable power comes from solar power, or 1.5% of total UK electricity (up from nothing in 2010).