Over the past several years, the popularity of solar energy for residential and commercial use has skyrocketed. The main reason for this is the irresistible combination of modern solar panel efficiency and current money-savings solar incentives.
Going solar makes more sense now than ever before, and unless you live in Antarctica, you’ve probably seen solar panel systems pop up all over your town and wondered more about them. Are they right for you? That’s a question best answered by an expert solar energy consultant. Still, these 16 interesting facts about solar energy will help put the idea of installing solar panels into perspective.
1. Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth
The amount of potential solar energy that falls on Earth’s surface in 1-hour equals the total annual energy consumption of everyone on the planet. 20 days of sunshine can create the same amount of energy as all the Earth’s coal, oil, and natural gas combined.
2. Solar power is the fastest-growing energy source
In early 2019, the U.S. surpassed 2 million solar system installations. This milestone comes just three years after the industry completed its 1 millionth installation, a feat that took 40 years to accomplish. Most notably, the industry is projected to hit 4 million installations in 2023, illustrating solar’s rapid pace as the fastest-growing energy resource in the world.
3. Solar is the cheapest source of energy in the world
The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80% since 2008. In December 2016, the cost of building and installing new solar electricity generation dropped to $1.65 per watt, narrowly beating out its renewable counterpart wind ($1.66/Watt) and its fossil fuel competitors.
4. Solar electricity has been around since 1839
In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect—that is, the ability to create an electric current from the sun’s rays. Then, Russell Ohl invented the first solar panel cell in 1941 and the first commercial panel was put out by Bell Laboratories in 1954.
5. Today, solar panel efficiency is higher than ever
Most solar panels sold in 2020 have efficiencies between 15% and 20%, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The first silicon solar panels were only about 6% efficient.
6. Monocrystalline silicon panels are the most efficient
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single silicon crystal, making them about 5% more efficient than polycrystalline panels. This higher efficiency usually comes with higher cost, however because MOXIE gets bulk purchasing deals, we can offer you monocrystalline panels for about the same cost as polycrystalline panels.
7. Solar panels can produce power without direct sunlight
Even if the sun’s not directly beaming on the panels – or it happens to be a cloudy day – it doesn’t mean the hues reflected from the sky aren’t being captured and utilized by the solar panel cells to produce power. Still, the direction you place your panels matters, and shade from trees and buildings should be accounted for before installation.
8. Solar energy can power an entire home and beyond
Today, most solar panel systems are designed to match your daily energy consumption needs including air conditioners and other large appliances. Net metering for grid-tied systems ensures you always have access to the energy you need. You can also add an energy storage battery to your system and have your own personal backup supply of solar energy.
9. Most homeowners experience break-even point in under a decade
Also known as solar payoff period, break-even point occurs when the original cost of your solar energy system is canceled out by your energy savings. Many factors affect your exact break-even point, but given that most solar panels come with a 25-year warranty, it’s a pretty safe investment.
10. You don’t have to buy solar panels outright
Even if you can’t cover the full cost of solar panel system installation outright, you can still get in on this smart investment. MOXIE is partnered with top banks and lenders that provide low-interest solar panel financing for nearly any budget.
11. Solar increases your home value
Homes with solar energy systems have been proven to sell quicker and for more money. A 2019 study by Zillow showed that, on average, homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more than homes without solar panels. Plus, most states have property tax exemptions for solar panel systems!
12. Solar energy improves world health
The burning of fossil fuels creates toxic pollution, which has an impact on global health. In 30 years, the average rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tons of carbon dioxide! This means cleaner air for everyone on earth.
13. Solar panels can power airplanes
If you still think solar energy is just a fad, think again. Some of the world’s largest companies are putting big money into creating 100% solar-powered airplanes. One guy in Switzerland even became internet famous by being the first person to jump out of a solar-powered airplane.
14. You can charge electric vehicles with solar panels
This might not be that surprising of a solar energy fact, but it’s something that’s not commonly talked about. When you pair solar panels with an electric vehicle and home EV charger, you’re not only saving on both gas and electricity, but you’re eliminating nearly your entire carbon footprint.
15. More than 250,000 people work in the solar energy industry
In 2019, the United States solar industry employed about 250,000 people. That’s a 167% increase from just ten years ago. When you support the solar industry by investing in your own solar energy system, you’re helping put Americans to work. At MOXIE, we’re proud to employ over 150 hardworking individuals.
16. Solar panels are the fastest energy source to setup
Compared the other forms of energy harvesting, solar power production is relatively simple and straightforward. Grid-tied systems tie right into existing electrical systems and installation can take as little as one day. With MOXIE’s Rapid Installation Team, we can now install your solar energy system up to 3X faster than the national average!
The fact is, solar energy is here to stay and the longer you wait to install your own solar panels, the more savings you’re passing up. Get started today with a free solar consultation.