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  • Writer's pictureBrian Harbin

4 Surprising Facts About Solar Power

With energy bills getting more expensive by the month, there has never been a better time to invest in renewable energy and remove your house from the grid. Solar power especially is in a boom time right now with millions of people already making use of solar panels.

There are a number of benefits to making use of solar power including its sustainability, but the most important to the majority of people will be the fact that it is able to supply free energy.

However away from the practicalities there are also some surprising and unique solar power facts that many people will not have heard about.

1. Solar power is older than you think

Most people think of solar power being a modern technology. However, while it is only recently that we have begun to harness it and use it in our homes and in the energy industry, the reality is that it was 1839 when Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered it by finding electricity’s “photovoltaic effect” that sees electricity generated from direct sunlight.

It took until 1941 for the solar cell to be invented by Russel Ohl following the creation of transistors and now solar panels can be found all over the world, in homes and in small calculators and supplying safe renewable energy to a large portion of the world’s population.

2. NASA has used solar power for nearly 70 years

One of the first industries to adopt solar power was the space industry. NASA has used solar technology for a long time, with it being a part of the oldest satellite, Vanguard 1, the size of which is less than your hand and which went into orbit back in 1958.

Vanguard 1 possesses six solar cells that generate around a single watt of energy capable of sending radio signals back home and did just that for six years.

Solar panels are used by NASA today for a variety of purposes including 84 kW of solar panels that supply all of the energy used on the International Space Station.

3. Solar Power is 100% safe and renewable

Solar power is completely renewable, with the sun having existed for around four and a half billion years and still only having used around 50% of the hydrogen stored in its core. The sun is expected to survive for another five billion years by scientists, so humanity has a lot of time left in which to make use of the free energy it supplies.

When that energy is converted via a solar power system it is 100% clean, giving off no harmful waste as a by-product, which is not the case with fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Homes that have solar power systems may be able to become completely self-sustaining, which is very useful for reducing energy costs.

4. The cost of solar power has fallen 99% in less than 50 years

One watt for one simple solar cell cost $77 back in 1977, but today that cost is $0.21, according to experts. An entire assembled module costs just $0.39 per watt, making solar power cheaper than ever before.

These are just some of the surprising facts about solar power, a form of energy that everyone should be looking to get on board with.

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