Solar Fact No.1

We all know solar power utilises the sun to generate energy. But did you know it was actually first discovered in 1839? For more solar trivia, tips and tricks, check out these 50 facts about solar energy!

Fact No.1

Solar energy has been harvested organically by plants and microorganisms since the beginning of life.

Fact No.2

The rate of energy generated by solar is measured in watts, which is the equivalent of 1 Joule of energy per second.

Fact No.3

In 1954, Bell Laboratories built the first ever silicon solar cell.

Fact No.4

The photovoltaic effect enables electrons to capture energy from photons (light) emitted by the sun.

Fact No.5

The PV effect was first discovered by a French scientist named Edmond Becquerel in 1839, who noticed electricity generation from an electrolytic cell increased after exposure to light.

Solar Fact No.5

Fact No.6

Solar energy produces no pollution, has no environmental effects and is ecologically acceptable.

Fact No.7

The first solar PV cells were used to power early satellites and consumer electronics, not houses and buildings.

Fact No.8

Innovative uses of solar PV technologies include phone chargers, streetlights and vaccine refrigerators where grid electricity is not guaranteed.

Fact No.9

Solar PV systems don’t produce noise or chemical pollution while generating electricity.

Fact No.10

Solar PV systems are extremely safe and have virtually no risk of chemical leaks, explosions or fire, unlike other energy sources.

Fact No.11

Solar PV systems don’t have moving parts and are very low maintenance, with panels lasting up to 35 years.

Solar Fact No.11

Fact No.12

Solar technology has been applied to paint and woven into the fabric.

Fact No.13

Around 55-60% of solar energy from the sun is lost as it enters the earth’s atmosphere due to absorption and reflection of light.

Fact No.14

The sun generates solar energy through nuclear fusion, where hydrogen atoms fuse together to create helium.

Fact No.15

On average, the total rate of energy from the sun that hits the earth is around 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) or 173,000,000,000,000,000 watts.

Fact No.16

Around 80% of the sunlight that hits the ice is reflected into space, whereas the ocean absorbs around 90%.

Solar Factor No.16

Fact No.17

Juno is the furthest space probe to be powered by solar. The solar panels have an equivalent capacity of 12 to 14 kilowatt if it were powered on earth.

Fact No.18

 “Space-based solar power” (SBSP) is a concept of harnessing solar energy in space, where there is no night time or atmosphere. Energy is converted into microwaves, so it can be captured on Earth’s surface.

Fact No.19

Since 2008, the price of the solar system has dropped by 80%, and it is expected to keep falling.

Fact No.20

There are 3 main types of solar cells: amorphous, polycrystalline and monocrystalline.

Fact No.21

The first solar-powered calculators were invented in 1978.

Fact No.22

World record solar efficiency was set in December of 2014 at around 45% efficiency.

Fact No.23

If you don’t use the solar you generate, it is fed back into the grid unless you have a battery system. Most states pay a “feed-in” tariff to households that put electricity back to the grid.

Fact No.24

Solar hot water systems work by extracting heat from the sun. They come in the form of “flat panels” and “evacuated tubes”

Fact No.25

Australia has the highest average solar radiation than any other continent in the world.

Solar Fact No.25

Fact No.26

Government rebates and incentives encourage more adoption of solar. Incentives in Australia includes high feed-in-tariff for households with solar, technology certificates to subsidise the cost of buying solar panels and grants for building solar farms.

Fact No.27

In 2016, the average installation size of small-scale PV systems was around 6 kilowatts or 6000 watts in Australia, approximately double the average size installed in 2013.

Fact No.28

The total capacity of PV systems installed in Australia quadrupled between 2011 and 2016.

Fact No.29

Australia is a leader in household solar, with more than 1 in 5 Australian households now using solar energy.

Fact No.30

There is more than one solar panel installed per person in Australia.

Fact No.31

Queensland and South Australia have the highest percentage of houses with solar PV at approximately 30% of all houses in their state with PV.

Fact No.32

Australia’s total PV capacity at the end of 2016 is 5.44 gigawatts (billions of watts)

Fact No.33

Unlike most other countries, most (approximately 85%) of Australia’s solar capacity comes from small scale solar (less than 10 kilowatts) rather than large solar plants whose capacity ranges from tens to hundreds of thousands of kW.

Fact No.34

One reason for the polarity of solar PV in Australia is due to the very high household electricity prices compared to other countries.

Fact No.35

The rate of energy generation from Australia’s National Energy Market is approximately 50,000 megawatts or 50,000,000,000 watts.

Fact No.36

In 2015, solar passed the 1% threshold of global total electricity generation.

Fact No.37

The solar capacity of the globe totals around 300 gigawatts.

Fact No.38

The countries with the highest capacity of solar added are Japan (10.5 gigawatts), the United States (13 gigawatts) and China (34.2 gigawatts) in 2016 alone.

Fact No.39

Germany leads the world in PV capacity per person, with around 473 watts per person, followed by Italy, Belgium, Japan then Australia (176 watts per person).

Fact No.40

Electricity prices from solar have reached a tipping point and now became cheaper than coal in many parts of the world. The global average price of solar is set to beat coal by around 2025.

Fact No.41

The global weighted average cost to build a utility-scale solar farm is predicted to fall by 84% from 2009 to 2025 from almost 5000 USD per kilowatt to around 1000 USD per kilowatt.

Fact No.42

The record for the cheapest electricity on the planet was set by a Mexican solar plant at 1.77 US cents per kilowatt hour.

Fact No.43

Price of electricity from solar is predicted to hit 1 cent per kilowatt hour before 2020.

Fact No.44

As of June of 2017, the biggest solar farm on the planet is the Tengger Desert Solar Park located in China aka. “The Great Wall of Solar”. It covers 1,200 square kilometre of land (3.2% of the whole Tengger Desert) and has a capacity of 1500 MW.

Fact No.45

Australia will build the world’s biggest solar and battery storage plant in South Australia with 330 MW generating capacity with 3.4 million panels and 1.1 million batteries.

Fact No.46

Battery storage allows solar electricity to be used when there is no sunlight. It comes in multiple types including lead-acid, lithium ion and even salt water.

Fact No.47

The energy storage market is projected to double six times (32 times bigger) from 2016 to 2030, with projected investments at 103 billion USD by 2030.

Fact No.48

Solar panels combined with batteries enables homes to become “off-grid” and rely purely on the sun to provide electricity.

Solar Fact No.48

Fact No.49

Microgrids are versions of the electricity network that comprises of an electricity generation source, delivery infrastructure and loads that consume this electricity.

Fact No.50

Countries that have reached 95 to 100% renewable energy includes Iceland, Paraguay, Tokelau and Uruguay.


But that's not everything there is to know about solar! Heard of smart solar? Here's a breakdown on what it is and how to make it work for you.

Learn how you can maximise your solar

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