Facts about Solar Energy

Solar energy consists of the light and heat emitted by the sun, in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

With today’s technology, we are able to capture this radiation and turn it into usable forms of solar energy – such as heating or electricity.

Although one could go into technical dissertations on the subject of electromagnetic radiation, how it is converted into solar energy, and the exact qualities of its electromagnetic rays, this is not something the average person needs or wants to know.

But in order to be able to benefit from the use of solar energy, there are a few facts you should know. Knowing these facts can assist you to make sound decisions, when looking at the use of solar power as a clean energy source for your home, RV, or whatever the case may be.

– Environmental Facts about Solar Energy

All life on earth is dependent upon solar energy. In fact, without solar energy, there would be no life at all. Even the lowest life forms, such as plankton and microbes, need solar energy (in the form of sunlight) in order to survive.

Solar energy is completely environmental friendly, producing absolutely no carbon emissions or other harmful byproducts whatsoever.

Solar energy can be used successfully and cost-effectively just about anywhere on the planet. You do not need to live in a tropical or desert climate in order to benefit from the use of solar energy. Solar power has been used successfully in many cold climates and even in the polar regions.

Every area of the United States of America receives enough sunlight to benefit from and make use of solar energy and solar technology.

Currently, the cheapest and most effective way of using solar energy in your home is through the use of solar water heating systems. In fact, solar water heating systems have been commercially available in the United States for over a 100 years.

Solar energy can be used for heating homes effectively in cold climates, as well as in warm climates. In fact, solar heating has been in use many cold-climate northern European countries for several decades now.

Solar energy technology has advanced far enough that it can be a viable and cost-effective replacement for regular grid-electricity.

Solar energy is rapidly increasing in popularity – so much so that the demand for solar-powered gadgets is currently greater than the supply.

– Facts about Solar Energy Usage

Solar energy can be used to provide electricity, heating and hot water for homes.

Solar energy can also be used to heat swimming pools. In fact, many pools in Scandinavia and Europe are heated with solar energy.

Solar Energy can be used to power vehicles, such as solar powered cars, and even a solar powered airplanes. NASA has successfully designed, built, and tested an airplane which is powered wholly by solar energy.

A few examples are: solar battery chargers, solar flashlights, solar calculators, solar radios, solar-powered attic fans, solar power backpacks (to recharge batteries for small devices), hybrid solar chargers (for cell phones, satellite phones, and more), solar-powered garden lights … and much, much more.

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71 Responses to “Facts about Solar Energy”

  1. ken August 12, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    I live in Northern California where the sun shines quite a bit. The energy prices are continuing to rise and it is important to do anything you can to off-set electricity being used.
    Just by adding a passive water heating system can save more money than you might think.
    A simple water tank painted black (an old water heater tank for example) can be placed between the main water heater and main flow of hot water to the house, thus reducing the amount of energy the water heater consumes. Simple things can mean alot!
    .-= ken´s last blog ..Privacy Policy =-.

  2. Simon @ Residential Solar Panels August 24, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    I think its about time more people were using solar power as a way to generate power for their home. At a time when we are hearing more and more about our carbon footprint, we should be doing everything we can to preserve energy.

    Second to this is the amount of money we can save ourselves. We are going through a world wide recession so people would be more aware. I have saved so much money using my home solar power kit and have even started to get paid for my electricity.

  3. Rami Fawaz September 11, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    I live in Michigan. I wish it we had more sun, I would love to get panels on my home.

  4. Conversion Vans November 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    It’s just money and priority. We live in a Country that spends $800 billion a year on national defense protecting us from the bad guys but is unwilling to make a real investment in the quality of life for its citizens.

  5. CB November 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    I agree with you and I am about 80% solar at my house. Great article.

  6. Ford Lover November 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    I would like to get there, but its so expensive. I could buy a new ford and have money left over! And my biggest fear is that I’ll spend the money, and in 3 years a better, cheaper system will come alone.

  7. lee @ Stop Repossession November 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    i’m looking to build a new house next year and i want to make it as carbon neautral as possible but the costs of all energy saving items bits is putting me off. i know it will be cheaper in the long run but i don’t know if i can afford the extra costs up-front. what would you advise? lee

  8. marly November 27, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    Solar provides some great benefits and more people should use it to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide. It´s the only way we can secure a future for our children.
    I totally agree with Simon and Anna.

  9. James@Double Din Navigation November 30, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    if solar power is used properly, the co2 emissions from most of the machines can be reduced greatly. yes to use Solar power the user atleast know few things as you said.

  10. Samuel Sawyer December 8, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    “Solar energy is completely environmental friendly, producing absolutely no carbon emissions or other harmful byproducts whatsoever.” I don’t agree with this one. Take for example the skin cancer, what’s causing it?

  11. Linde@green home design December 8, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Great work, Anna, I luved the facts. What do you think about the carbon-intensive processes that are used to produce solar energy products? This is one thing that makes me slightly wary, however, there are no serious studies about this anyway.

  12. Ko@Hollister Ca Homes December 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    I teach agriculture in the advanced technology department at a community college in Central Cal, and I really appreciate the content of your article. Solar power is clean, renewable, and readily available. All we need it a more educated public, and more cutting edge advances. Thanks for the post.

  13. Ad December 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m sure you will see more and more investment in solar and other renewable sources of energy once it becomes more cost effective, espescially with the price of oil continuing to rise.

  14. Nancy@Baby Play Mat December 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    I am looking forward to more options and opportunities for using solar energy. I live in the southwest United States and don’t understand why there hasn’t been solar panels for energy on every home in this section of the US. I know it has taken time to develop the technology and is still a costly conversion, but in the long run it will help our environment.

  15. Rudolf@Solar Panel Charger December 14, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    Speaking of the future, some of the plans in consideration involves the use of solar panel arrays, about a kilometre in size orbiting in space beaming their power down to earth to a number of ground based antennas, where the solar energy would be converted into usable electricity.

  16. Romy @ Natural Gas Heaters December 16, 2009 at 4:40 am #

    Where I live, solar panel are a bit too expensive, but a friend of mine sells them, and has some great heating systems for the entire home that use only the solar power.

    I have to say, they look like a great investment for the future. Not only you help keeping the earth greener, you also save money , because you will not have to pay any more money for gas or electricity.

  17. Dallas Petrov December 22, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    The government here offers rebates for green energy things like this. Which is handy because Australia tends to get a lot of sunlight most of the year.

  18. Mason January 2, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Solar power is great when one can afford to install it. Hopefully it will eventually replace coal, gas and other hydrocarbon based electrify. However, for someone who can’t afford to install it right away there several other things that can be done to “winterize” the house and cut back on utility bills at small cost…shut off unused rooms, cover vents in those rooms, keep computers and T.V’s off when not in use. These are just a start.

  19. Diy Solar Panels January 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    As for the expense that goes into building your own panels, they are not as expensive as you may think. They are surprisingly affordable, especially when you compare them to the expense of having someone come out to your house and install ready made panels for you. That will cost you thousands of dollars just to have a couple panels installed, but you can build your own for way less.

  20. Blane@San Jose Lasik Surgery January 4, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Over Christmas vacation my father and brother and myself watched a video about building your own solar panels. The process is quite simple and the applications are numerous, especially in remote regions (third world countries, etc.) The solar energy can be used in remote villages to pump clean water for drinking etc. Also, I learned that solar cells can be purchased very cheap from manufacturers if the cell has a defect. The cells still work! It just takes a little work to assemble what you need to get the voltage and current for your system.

  21. Sam= January 10, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    I live in rented accommodation at the moment, but as soon as I manage to buy my own place I’m going to go all out and fit it with solar panels. Save money AND save the environment – why not? 🙂

  22. GEB January 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Do you think in a decade, almost every home would use solar power instead of coal to generate electricity? This would save a lot of money and help mother nature.


  23. ken @ Am Fm Radios January 12, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Solar power is being used for a number of products, from supplying electricity to homes and businesses to powering your laptop or portable radio.

  24. Gabriel January 13, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    Awesome post there. Great article Anna. Its high time that each and every person must go green and stay eco-friendly now on. It not only helps our environment be pure but also reduces global warming to a large extent. Nothing to think there cos an added advantage is that ultimately we stay healthy if our surrounding is clean and free of pollution. Its true that all kind of organic and eco- friendly products or food are expensive. Using solar panels should be the first step towards this goal. Excellent facts. Thanks

  25. Kirsty@ Patio Bar Set January 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Over here in Japan, they are introducing a type of point system for buying eco friendly products like solar heaters, solar panels or hybrid cars or low electricity consuming electric products. If this system could be incorporated into most shopping centers around the world, more people would be likely to purchase these type of products which are often more expensive initially but pay in the long run.

  26. Alex January 18, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Although using plastic materials for harnessing the sun’s power are by no means something new, the power to actually reap the infrared portion of the sun is a recent development. Current technology is only able to use the visible rays of the sun. The infrared portion is invisible and is a good half the power of the sun which is why plastic will generate even more power at a lower cost than current solar cells.

  27. ken January 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Solar power is more and more advanced all the time. This energy can be used to power a variety of products.

  28. Tom @ Solar Generator Power February 4, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Your site is very informative and interesting. I always love to learn any new information that i can about solar energy. It is the one thing we have such an incredible abundance of. I think everyone should have some way of using this endlessly renewable source of energy in their life. Thank you very much.

    • Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      @Tom – Thanks for your feedback. I definitely agree!

  29. Jesse February 6, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    Here in Arizona I am surprised I don’t see many people using solar panels. Don’t get me wrong I do see some houses with them but I believe when people start to learn more about this we will see more and more solar panels on houses.

  30. AR February 8, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    Anna, you have emphasized the importance of solar energy impeccably. Coming from the industry of selling homes, we are aware of the needs of customers more than anybody. This blog post has enlightened us on the various aspects of energy usage and we can explain to our customers more efficiently now. Thanks for your time in writing this.

    Alan S Rosson

  31. Anna February 8, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    @ Tulsa Homes – Thank you 🙂
    @Jessie – Hopefully, more education and enlightenment on the subject will help.

  32. Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    @Tom – Thanks! I agree, we can and should utilize solar energy wherever it is workable and worthwhile.

    @Ken – Thanks 🙂

  33. Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    @Alex – that is an interesting point you bring up. Definitely puts things in another perspective. Thanks for adding that data on the subject!

  34. Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    @Kirsty – I like the idea of implementing such a system. I agree that making it more worthwhile, financially and otherwise, will encourage more people to use solar energy. I hope such systems are adopted in other areas and countries as well.

  35. Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    @Gabriel – You are right, personal health is a benefit which is often overlooked, or so it seems. Many people look at the use of eco-friendly products or alternative energy as an option they can choose for the benefit of the environment, but at the expense of their pocketbook. However, personal health is definitely a big factor. In fact, if we all led healthier and cleaner lives, we would be spending a lot less on medical bills and even beauty products, weight loss supplements, cosmetics, and worse (particularly where women are concerned).

  36. Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    @Kai – It’s possible, but one has to keep in mind that there are other forms of renewable energy and solar energy is not always the best way to go. It may be one of several forms of renewable energy in use in a home or establishment. Or, geography and other conditions might indicate that other forms of renewable/alternative energy are more efficient.

  37. HP February 17, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Unfortunately, customers and indeed installers of solar heating systems tend to forget the importance of a good inhibited heat transfer fluid. This fluid must be able to withstand temperatures of up to 180’C during system operation whilst also protecting the system when temperatures plummet below freezing. Consequently, customers must be made aware of the importance of good inhibited heat transfer fluid at the installation stage of a solar heating system, otherwise this may lead to premature system failures.

  38. Laptop power supply March 2, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    Solar energy is definitely environmentally friendly and that is the reason why the demand for solar energy is greater than supply.

  39. Rick March 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Solar energy is just one of many alternative fuel sources. Another type is biofuels, and you can make a ton of fuel from hemp. I believe if we combine solar and bioenergy, we can really achieve great things on this planet.

  40. Mark@tankless water heater April 12, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Solar can also be used as a pre-heater for an electric tankless water heater, allowing you to only use extra power when necessary on those cold dark winter nights.

  41. adam April 13, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    For $20k we can now buy solar power roof top panels that will generate electricity. They actually generate more power than your house needs so you can sell the extra power for profit. Not bad at all if you can afford the initial investment.

  42. shilpy@residual income April 21, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    I live in India and recently I came across a report which says that ndia’s power sector has a total installed capacity of approximately 1,46,753 Megawatt (MW).Power shortages are estimated at about 11% of total energy and 15% of peak capacity requirements and are likely to increase in the coming years.Fortunately, India lies in sunny regions of the world and has abundant Solar resources, as it receives about 3000 hours of sunshine every year.
    In this way it can easily utilize the Solar energy or Solar Power.

  43. shebs@mini dv camcorder April 28, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    I’m thinking of putting solar power panels on the roofs of houses in Bangladesh, their is alot of sun their and electricity is expensive.

  44. jaqualine@Biofuels April 29, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    i think biogas fuel is seems to be a good alternative of petrol and other fuel so i advice to all that try to make more of it.

  45. Jerry@ Universal Laptop Power Supply May 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I was reading about a new idea in the planning stages where solar panels are put into orbit and send power generated by the sun to earth and the power is accepted by antennas. The energy is then manifested into electric power. It sounds like Reagan’s “Star Wars” plan but more doable and with a much better purpose.

  46. Steve@How To Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs May 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Today i read in my local newspaper that my country will be a net importer of petrol products by 2019 and prices of petrol will go up by 10 cents every 6 months if subsidy is not removed by the govt. starting this year. How i wish all cars on the road run on solar energy in the near future so we don’t have to pay for expensive gas!!!

  47. Karen June 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    using plastic materials for harnessing the sun’s power are by no means something new, the power to actually reap the infrared portion of the sun is a recent development. Current technology is only able to use the visible rays of the sun. The infrared portion is invisible and is a good half the power of the sun which is why plastic will generate even more power at a lower cost than current solar cells.

  48. Stefani Neace@oil radiator heater June 8, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    I think that Solar energy can be used to provide electricity, heating and hot water for homes.More people were using solar power as a way to generate power for their home.These type of products which are often more expensive initially but pay in the long run.

  49. Paul @ Wind and Solar Electricity June 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Currently, the cheapest and most effective way of using solar energy in your home is through the use of solar water heating systems.

  50. Rob@Sedona Method, Emotional Freedom Technique June 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    For an ordinary Asian home, using solar panels are just too expensive. Without support from the government, an average homeowner can’t just afford it. Although, the sunlight is more than enough to provide electricity since this is a tropical country, the price is just too much.

  51. Sam July 10, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    Thank you Anna for sharing information on solar energy. It is a solar energy fact that the cost is coming down as technology matures. Also, the federal government and many states are giving tax rebates, credits and grants to help offset initial cost.

  52. Tom @ Portable Solar Generator July 19, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    There is great new technology starting to come out that absorbe more of the heat from the sun and creats more energy per panel. I am sure we will start to see similar improvements in other areas such as wind and water too.

  53. Band Heaters July 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Solar Energy is becoming more and more popular. The worldwide demand for Solar Energy is currently greater than supply.

  54. erwin July 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    I hope the solar energy equipment will be cheap and affordable here in my country because we are having energy scarcity here.

  55. Martynas August 7, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Recently car bateries have invested in solar energy which i think can only be good for the automobile industry and the environment

  56. Dog Houses August 9, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Solar is definitely the way of the future. Hopefully innovations will help drop the price so that more people can afford to use it.

  57. Frank August 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    I’ve been looking into going solar, but am having difficulty with the costs so far. Hopefully it does become cheaper soon.

  58. Mark September 5, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I usually store the solar power for emergencies.

  59. Baric September 11, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    According to the US Department of Energy, an average American household used approximately 866-kilowatt hours per month in 1999 costing them $70.68.

  60. Lee Simon @ Room Rental September 13, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    That’s amazing, content about solar power, i think we all have to be careful, i heard it costs 50 pound a year to leave the stand bye light on your television as well ! So we can save ourselves money.

  61. Chris@Solar Power Fan October 5, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    I wish the solar panels were more efficient. It still takes too long before it pays for itself.

  62. Solar Power Fan October 5, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    Do solar panels make it more difficult to replace a roof?

  63. Alfred@energy November 4, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    Interesting article. A good thing about solar panels is that you need not purchase all the required solar panels at one go. One can initially purchase one and then later purchase more depending on the specific energy requirements for your home. So unlike the misconception among many people, the installation of solar panels need not necessarily be an instant expensive investment.

  64. jenny@energy efficiency london November 11, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    Solar energy is a term for describing a range of methods for obtaining energy from the sun. Many people immediately think about solar panels when hearing solar energy but wind, biomass and hydro power are all forms of solar energy.

  65. Bluish @ Bergamo Hotels January 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Solar energy is as natural it can get. The energy radiating from the sun is called solar energy and there is never a shortage of it. It can be obtained abundantly from the sun, and virtually every living organism on planet earth to survive and gather energy and keep the daily processes going smoothly uses it. Solar energy is one of the oldest and traditional renewable energy resource that is used for running many modern technologies.

    Solar energy is in fact better for the Environment than other usual traditional energy forms. Solar energy can be used for many day-to-day jobs like heating, cooking, drying of clothes etc. It can be directly used to make food. It also is a useful electricity source, which can be both cheap and reliable. Thus its worldwide demand is increasing and its actually gradually becoming more than its supply.

    Another interesting fact is that, an average American family spends 70$ per month in energy cost of which more than 30% is for heating. By solar energy, the heating can be done much cost-effectively & efficiently. So, solar energy always saves you money, which is good for all! However, solar systems setting-up may require high costing initially, in the long run it saves you money in using it rather than the traditional technological energy sources. The multicolored Solar panels, which need a large area for installation, having proper battery back up can work 24*7 even on cloudy nights & imperfect weather conditions!

    Environmentally speaking, solar energy is accountable for various weather patterning & Ocean currents. The modern technology may be wonder to few but they are also very much involved in developing a large chunk of the pollution in our earth, which harms us in the end. Solar energy is efficient here as well as it is pollution free and eco-friendly. It doesn’t emit harmful green house gases and saves the earth from the menace called global warming which is currently all around the globe affecting the earth as a whole.

  66. coco@lunettes achat February 15, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    i think solar energy is really the solution

  67. Green Mobilia March 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Solar energy becomes the answer to energy needs on earth, where oil and gas energy to be very limited for use. Nice sharing ever.

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  69. Peter April 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    It does not contribute to global warming, as it does not contaminate the air by releasing carbon dioxide or other pollutants. The use of solar energy for homes and businesses can help reduce transport of fuel that would otherwise be used for heating, further reducing carbon emissions.

  70. Suarez Almeria October 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    I agree with you and I used about 10% solar at my house. But in the future I will use up to 90%,I promise!

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