Tesla’s PowerWall – a home battery for use with domestic solar systems – also uses lithium-ion technology and can generate 13.5 kWh from a full charge. One of the key benefits of solar energy is that it doesn’t release greenhouse gases or pollutants. Most locations in the United States get enough sunlight to produce sufficient electricity from solar panels. The SunPower X22 domestic solar panel, for example, one of the most efficient on the market, is rated at 22.8%, so really you’d need around 14m2. This energy is generated when sunlight is converted into electricity. Other sources suggest that you may be able to cut your energy bills in half with properly sized panels and optimal sun exposure. Here are 15 facts about solar energy that you likely didn’t know about this fascinating energy source that is growing at a remarkable rate. This leaves us at the mercy of social, economic, and political forces outside of our control. To convert the sun’s energy from DC to AC, the solar panels require an inverter. That’s why we really want to share some things that you might not know about solar energy. One of the advantages of solar energy is no (or low) carbon dioxide or other emissions to affect the atmosphere. Not just for when the sun sets, but when we’re generating more or less than we need. Nor do we need to import electricity from nearby countries, or pay a hedging premium against rises. If farmers can exploit brownland, or other poor quality land, they won’t intensify farming of other pastures. Not only is it destroying natural habitats, but it’s disrupting populations, reducing their size or pushing them to new places. The production of solar energy produces zero emissions and … At present, the Government’s support of fossil fuels far outweighs that of renewables. 4 Things to Know Before You Take the Solar Energy Plunge. You can use the electricity generated by your solar PV system to power your home, your business or even your car. Period. Here are 7 things you need to know. Start with these five: 1. We need sensing and monitoring equipment that helps us better understand how much solar energy is being generated, where it’s coming from, and how much is being used. Fossil fuels upset the natural carbon cycle, as well as polluting our ecosystems. It is therefore great for the environment and for consumers.”, Matt Setchell, Head of Renewables, Octopus Investments. Panels that face south will produce the most electricity, but your panels can also face east or west. Energy = power x time While a 15-20% efficiency doesn’t sound like much, the fact that solar energy is renewable means that any energy converted is helpful. The pump itself can be powered by a solar photovoltaic panel, making it even more energy efficient. Let’s talk about how much. Solar panels can be installed practically anywhere that receives direct sunshine for most of the day and is not shaded by trees or buildings. To really take advantage of solar energy, we must be able to store it. Equally, if the UK relies on a distributed network of solar energy, and not a small number of centralised coal or gas power stations, blackouts, brownouts, and power surges will affect fewer people. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. The UK’s bee populations are already in decline and solar farms could help them bounce back. Already the solar industry employs almost 126,000 people, growing every year to meet both private and public demand for solar energy. Using figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Carbon Brief estimates financial aid of between “$5.8bn and $7bn since 2010.”. So the calculation becomes: Flat land This also works at the domestic level. Broadly speaking, there are two types of solar panel, thermal and photovoltaic. The Government has already withdrawn much of its subsidy support for solar electricity, yet it continues to grow. As a result, the need for qualified workers in solar energy careers will increase. At times when your system produces more electricity than you use, you receive credit for the electricity you send to the grid; if you need more electricity than your solar energy system is producing, you can draw it from the grid. So how does each type of solar panel work? On average, homeowners in the U.S. break even in 8 years. In fact, the earth receives more energy from the sun in one hour than the population of the world uses in an entire year. By insuring against rises they hope to protect their market share, but this comes at a premium which is passed on to the customer through their energy bills. In an air-based system, the solar collector heats air which is then redistributed throughout the building using fans. Solar photovoltaic systems are a well-proven technology first invented in 1954 by scientists at Bell Labs. Solar panels are therefore a lucrative, eco-friendly choice for land that might otherwise have gone to waste. By managing these assets together, and using cutting edge technology from Reactive Technologies, we can improve performance for our investors and attract further investment into UK solar.”. The energy created in the cells either needs to be used immediately or be stored. © Copyright 2009-2020 EnergySage, LLC. However, many things are not known about solar panels and every homeowner needs to be aware of the following things before making the investment. “Octopus led the roll-out of solar energy generation in the UK back in 2011,, and remains the largest solar owner/operator in the UK. Following Becquerel’s discovery, the world went dizzy with dreams of endless, free power. Should You Install Solar Batteries for Home Use? As light hits solar cells, electrons are removed from atoms and then flow throughout the cell. The combined electricity output of the solar farm then enters the grid where it’s distributed to homes and businesses throughout the UK. Average monthly European solar PV module prices by module technology and manufacturer, March 2010—May 2017 (left) and average yearly module prices by market in 2015 and 2016 (right). Energy can just be rerouted from another local site. As well as coexisting peacefully with grazing animals, solar farms encourage biodiversity by creating safe havens where bees, insects, and other animals can nest. Whichever storage portfolio we choose, open competition and innovation will determine the winners. “Solar power has become the key energy source of the future because its success in scaling has driven down cost, making it increasingly viable around the world without the need for government subsidies. It depends on how much power your system generates and how much energy you use. Octopus Energy generates electricity from a large portfolio of solar, wind, and anaerobic digestion sites. This is what actually generates electricity. It wasn’t until Bell Laboratories in the US began experimenting with silicon in the 1950s that the first solar cell appeared, paving the way for a new generation of solar panels that could power everyday appliances. Sign up today to see how much solar can save you. Solar energy is the result of nuclear fusion inside the sun’s core. But this is a measure of solar power (the rate of energy produced), and we’re interested in solar energy (the amount of energy we receive). Solar energy creates DC, or direct-current, power. The system consists of an inverter as well as the solar panels. Photovoltaic panels aren’t as efficient as thermal panels, reaching about 25-30% in the most expensive models, while thermal panels operate between 50% and 70%. Wowed by wind farms: inspiring and educating the schoolkids of Aberdeenshire. One of solar energy’s biggest benefits is protecting biodiversity. Solar panel installation is best left to the professionals. Solar energy is created by cells absorbing sunlight and converting heat energy into electricity. Building upon these discoveries, Charles Fritts built the first selenium-based solar module in 1883. At first glance, based on our calculations above, a typical household using 3,100 kWh in a year would need around 3m2 of solar panels. On any given day this figure could be extremely different. Solar energy boosts the economy by creating jobs. This ensures that no matter what the weather, season, or time of day, Octopus Energy guarantees to replace every kWh used by their Green tariff customers with a renewable one. If you can afford to pay your electricity bill every month, you can afford to install a solar panel system. 6. Solar energy is used to power air conditioners, billboards, shelters for the homeless, and even bike paths. NASA and other space agencies have been doing it for years, powering satellites and spacecraft without the need for heavy generators or fuel tanks. Each thermal system varies, but they work on a similar principle. Having our own supply of solar energy means we don’t need to rely on imported fossil fuels for generation. We mentioned that the solar energy industry is poised for growth. Whether its demand-side response or grid-scale battery plants, storage will allow the benefits of solar energy to penetrate every aspect of society. Your electric vehicle battery could function in the same way – charging or discharging according to your driving schedule and the grid’s status. Everything you need to know about solar energy, © 2020 Octopus Capital Ltd - All rights reserved, the world’s fastest-growing energy source, predicted to beat gas and nuclear by 2022, 12.6% of all renewable energy generation in 2016, the solar industry employs almost 126,000 people, The UK’s first ever subsidy-free solar farm, analysts predict solar will thrive independently by 2025, 69% of all Octopus Energy electricity was renewable, Coronavirus recovery could help us fight climate change. Alexander Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891) discovered that sunlight created an electrical current between silver chloride and platinum. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cohabiting with existing species, and protecting declining populations, solar energy can help animals thrive. And in times of conflict, having our own supply of solar power defangs any potential attack on energy sources, overt or otherwise. However, as noted previously, PV panels aren’t 100% efficient. Photovoltaic panels capture sunlight and convert it to electricity. You can use the electricity generated by your solar PV system to power your home, your business or even your car. Relying on fossil fuels exposes us to wholesale prices that vary according to supply and demand. The most important factors to consider when you evaluate your solar panel options are the rates you pay for electricity and the rebates and incentives available to you. And solar panels are being researched to increase efficiency. Our houses use AC, or alternating current. Energy = 876,000 Wh/m² Solar energy is the most powerful resource that we have available around us. That’s enough to power nearly four million homes. When you install a solar energy system on your property, you remain connected to the electricity grid. This is making it increasingly difficult for animals to find food, shelter, and mates with which to reproduce. 07/07/2015 11:38 am ET Updated Jul 07, 2016 I believe solar energy is a huge part of what we need to be about as a nation. A composite image of the sun taken at different wavelengths. There’s a lot to know about how solar works before you make the switch. Solar energy is the world’s fastest-growing energy source, and for good reason. Abundant, sustainable, and cheaper than coal (and predicted to beat gas and nuclear by 2022), solar is bringing about big changes around the globe. Simplifying the “Going-Solar” Process Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the sun’s energy. Solar photovoltaic panels are made of tempered glass and can withstand hail, snow, rain, and high winds. Storing energy is necessary because when the sun goes down, or if it’s cloudy, then the solar panels aren’t producing. As long as you have enough roof space to install the right size solar panel system, the power that your panels will produce will effectively eliminate most of your electricity bill. Solar Energy Systems Always Pay for Themselves (Over Time) The potential for utility savings is the main reason most people decide to use solar energy for their homes. Energy = 100 x (365 x 24) If it’s a liquid-based system, the solar collector is either a flat plate of insulated copper pipes or a series of evacuated tubes. However, selenium wasn’t a particularly efficient photovoltaic material. Using Solar Energy is Not a Novel Idea Harnessing energy coming from the sun is seen as a rather new technology. How solar energy works 1. It’s unlikely we could ever meet such demand with solar power alone, given our distance from the equator and cloudy weather, but solar has proven more than capable of bearing a significant share. With a $0-down solar loan, solar lease or PPA, you can finance your system and see immediate savings. Investing in a solar panel system can deliver better returns than stocks and bonds – and now is the right time to make that investment. Start your solar journey today with EnergySage. So in many cases, fossil fuels aren’t just bad for your health and the environment, but also your pocket. This takes into account our seasons, weather, geographical location, and the time of day. They can even extend the life of your roof by protecting it from daily wear and tear. Instead of propping up a failing, destructive, and expensive energy source, the government could allow the market to determine the best source of power. 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