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10 facts: Solar Energy

Facts

The earth receives 340 watts per square meter at any given moment. This power is known as solar irradiance which is the output of light energy from the entire disk of the Sun, measured at the Earth, and it’s more than enough to light up your house for the entire day.

The distance between the sun and earth is 151.3 million kilometers. It takes sunlight 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the earth from the sun. Even if the sun were to suddenly disappear, you would not notice until 8 minutes later.

Solar panel systems can last up to 40 years. The system consists of photovoltaic cells, an inverter, and a battery pack, with no moving parts.  They are virtually maintenance-free since the batteries require no water or any regular service and will last for years. Once solar panels are installed, there are zero recurring costs.

A recent study has shown that solar energy was almost 17 % cheaper than coal in India, the first time anywhere in the world. India is among the cheapest providers of electricity. This number is expected to increase with improving technologies and synergy between solar plants to almost 50%. Homeowners experience “break-even” on their solar panel installation in under a decade .

Solar technology is constantly improving. The first solar cell was created using photovoltaic (PV) technology in 19​54.When light hits the cells, the electrons are separated from their atoms and flow through the cell, thus generating electricity. It was found to have an efficiency of only 6 Percent! Modern solar cells contained in domestic installations can convert around 20% of the sunlight they receive into electricity, while some commercial systems can reach 40%.

The Earth receives consistent solar radiation. Even on cloudy days, solar panels can generate energy. Sometimes, a phenomenon known as the edge of the effect allows solar panels to produce more electricity than they do on the usual sunny days. This happens when the solar radiation passes over the edge of clouds, magnifying their capacity and power.

Solar energy far exceeds the potential of any other source of energy. An hour of sunlight can power the entire planet for a year. 174,000 terawatts of energy consistently strike the earth as solar radiation at any moment, even on the cloudiest of days.The sun's potential is almost 10,000 times that of our entire energy needs.

Solar energy is completely clean and produces no residue or pollution. There is no wastage, nor any air, noise, or chemical pollution.  This makes Solar power far more environmentally friendly, even more than wind energy, which can have minor side effects on the local environment.Not only that, solar panels last 40 or 50 years, the infrastructure around a solar power plant has a lot of value. Solar panels could be replaced with new, more efficient modules at relatively low cost, thus improving performance.

Three of the world's largest solar parks are in India, in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Each, when built, was the largest solar park at that point. The Bhadla Solar park in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, which is the largest solar power plant in the world, can produce 2.25 GW of power.

The magnetic fields created by the Sun can be strong enough to disrupt communications on Earth and protect us from cosmic rays. It is also responsible for almost half of the earth’s tidal forces, causing the waves of the ocean.