Solar Energy 101: 5 Surprising Facts About Solar Power

Solar Energy 101: 5 Surprising Facts About Solar Power


Everyone has been there. You notice more and more solar panels on houses and businesses in your area. But are they worth it? With so many people switching to solar, it would have to be.

Keep reading to learn 5 surprising facts about solar energy and why you should make the switch for your home or business today.

1. Solar Panels Have Been Around for Decades

Most solar panels use photovoltaic cells to generate power. These cells are able to convert light into electricity. The first demonstration of this principle was performed by Edmond Becquerel in 1839.

However, the first working cell that could convert light into electricity wasn’t made until more than a century later in 1954. A team of researchers at Bell Labs made this breakthrough with the help of new semiconductor technology.

2. Solar Panels Are Made of Semiconductors

Most materials fall into the category of either conductors or insulators. If electrons can flow freely within the material, it is a conductor while if the electrons are stuck in place, the material is an insulator.

Some materials have a conductivity between conductors and insulators. These are called semiconductors. They typically consist of silicon wafers that have been treated, or doped, with phosphorous and boron.

The addition of phosphorous gives the silicon more electrons and a negative charge while the addition of boron gives the silicon fewer electrons and a positive charge. These opposite charges guide electrons so that they can become electricity.

  1. Solar Energy Uses Nuclear Fusion

The sun produces energy in a process called nuclear fusion. In the center of the sun, temperatures and pressures are so high that particles collide regularly at very high speeds.

The collisions of protons in the sun’s core produce helium nuclei and release energy in the process. The sun then gives off this energy as light, which eventually makes its way to us on Earth.

3. Solar Panels Don’t Need Direct Sunlight

Even though solar panels are most efficient when they receive direct sunlight, they can still generate electricity without it. Photovoltaic cells convert any light into electricity, so even when it’s cloudy or dark, they can generate some power.

A general rule of thumb is if you go outside and can see your hand in front of you, there is enough light to generate electricity. In addition, new solar panel technology is able to store energy during the day so that the power isn’t shut off at night.

4. Solar Panels Can Pay for Themselves

There can be many benefits of going solar. Even though the initial investment may be steep, solar power will definitely save money in the long term. Many power companies use net metering to determine how much electricity you use.

If you generate more power than you use, your meter will go down, and the power company may provide you with credits you can use later. In addition, the federal government gives ta credits to people who install solar panels.

No matter what your solar power needs may be, you can find more information about solar panel installation companies here.

Next Steps

Now that you know 5 interesting facts about solar energy, feel free to do some research on your own and find out if solar panels are right for your home or business.

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