Solar energy facts

Solar energy is gaining popularity worldwide and being employed to produce electricity, heat water and power cars, among other things.

Following are some facts about the sun, electricity and solar energy from

  • About 30 percent of the U.S.' total energy consumption is used to heat water.
  • A 1-kilowatt residential PV system will prevent about 170 pounds of coal from being burned; 300 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere; and 105 gallons of water from being consumed each month.
  • Sunlight travels to the Earth in about 8 minutes from 93 million miles away at 186,282 miles per second.
  • Leonardo da Vinci predicted solar industrialization in 1447 and even used concave mirrors to heat water.
  • In one hour, more sunlight falls on the Earth than what is used by the entire population in one year.
  • About 2 billion people in the world currently are without electricity.
  • The U.S. accounts for 5 percent of the world's population but consumes 26 percent of the world's energy.
  • Shell Oil predicts that 50 percent of the world's energy will come from renewable sources by 2040.
  • Many ancient civilizations worshipped the sun as the cause of everything.
  • The sun is 109 times bigger than the Earth.
  • In recent years, manufacturing costs of PV cells have dropped 3 to 5 percent per year as government subsidies have increased.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Blending in.