Facts about Solar Energy

Do you know the facts about solar energy? Many people think that solar heating, solar cooking, and solar energy in general are all topics for future generations, space age ideas whose time has not yet come. Yet the facts about solar energy are nothing like that. Solar heating and cooking have been around for hundreds of years. Passive solar has been used for decades effectively and cheaply. Even high tech solar applications are becoming more common and more affordable with each passing day.

Here are some important facts about solar energy you might not know:

In one hour, more sunlight falls on planet Earth than is used by the entire population for an entire year.

Solar cookers have been available for decades, work great, use no electricity, and can be purchased in basic forms for less than $20 each.

A one kilowatt solar energy system prevents 150 pounds of coal from being mined and 300 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

The average U.S. household spends 25% of its energy costs on heating water and 50% on heat and air-conditioning.

A solar water heater can save up to 85% off the cost of heating water electrically.

Solar energy comes in both passive and active forms. Passive solar energy stores the natural heat of sunlight in natural heat-retaining materials like stone. Active solar energy makes use of photovoltaic panels and batteries for generating and storing electricity.

In some areas, electricity generated by solar photovoltaic panels can be sold back to the public electrical utility, reducing or eliminating a monthly household electric bill, and in some cases resulting in a monthly payment from the utility.

Anyone can make use of passive solar by using heat-retaining materials in walls (such as trombe walls) floors (stone, etc.) or thermal windows that let heat in but don’t let it back out.

Solar space heaters can be constructed at home for under $100 out of pop cans and simple construction materials.

You may be eligible for federal tax rebates for any residential solar energy installations you complete in 2009 or 2010. In some states, government-backed financing is also available.

New facts about solar energy are emerging every day, keeping solar energy in the news and at the forefront of green energy discussions. One of the most exciting facts about solar energy is that it has the potential to single-handedly meet all of earth’s energy needs with a bit of funding for installation and new and better ways of tapping sunlight.
Solar energy is a completely renewable resource. It is abundant and readily available, and we use only a very small portion of it on any given day. Learn the facts about solar energy and see if you can’t make some small application to your own situation. Once you get started, you’re sure to become an advocate. Who doesn’t love the sun?

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