Solar energy is one of the most abundant energy sources on Earth. Solar has the ability to power your entire house – including appliances, water, and air conditioning. Solar was once cost-prohibitive for most people, but as prices have steadily dropped in the past decade, it's become the world's most popular form of renewable energy. Today, the United States has over 50 GW of solar capacity. That's the equivalent of 50 industrial-sized nuclear reactors! From its role in history to its starring role in space, here are some intriguing facts about solar to share at your next cocktail party.
It's A Genius Invention
Many Las Vegas solar installers will tell you that solar energy is a smart idea. However, it's actually quite literally a genius invention. The ability to use the sun for power was discovered by Albert Einstein. After experimenting with solar power and photovoltaics, Einstein wrote a paper on his observations, which he called the photoelectric effect. The paper earned Einstein a Nobel Prize in the 1920s, and it paved the way for the advancement of future solar technologies.
Solar Sparks Healthy Competition
With over 1,940 MW of solar capacity, California is the #1 state in the US for solar. Rounding out the top five solar-producing states are North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and New Jersey. Customers with solar panels Las Vegas will be proud to know that their efforts have added to the city's renewable energy capacity. Today, Las Vegas is the largest city in the country to use 100% renewable energy.
It Is (Now) An Affordable Source Of Energy
The price of solar panels Las Vegas has dropped significantly since 2008, making it a much more viable option for energy. Solar technology was first available for public use in 1956. While the thought was great, the price was not. It cost $300 per watt to install! Prices fell to $77 per watt by the late 1970s, which was still expensive. Now, the cost of solar is much more reasonable. Nationwide, the average price per watt is $2.87 - $3.85. Add in federal and state rebates, and the end price is even lower.
Solar Powers Space
When you think of the Space Race, you probably think of competition between the United States and Russia to be the first on the moon. But a little known fact is that solar energy played a key role in both countries' efforts to make it there. NASA first started using solar energy to power its spacecraft in the 1960s. A Russian rover, called the Lunokhod Rover, made it to the moon in 1973 operating on solar energy.
Solar Is Everywhere
The sun, which produces the solar electricity in your home or building, is the largest source of energy on the planet. The amount of sunlight that hits the earth every hour could easily meet the entire world's electric needs. With all the solar capacity installed worldwide to date, we still only use an astounding 0.001% of the sun's potential energy!