Solar panel technology has been around for over a century. However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that solar power systems started to see widespread use for homes and businesses. While most understand the basics of solar power, many are still unaware of the history of solar panel technology and its potential for future growth.
If you’ve already entered the beneficial world of renewable energy by installing solar panels at your property in Escondido, La Jolla, Temecula, or another city in the San Diego County, you’ll be interested in the handy facts about solar energy we have collected in this article. Read on.
How efficient was the first solar panel?
The very first solar panel produced was not very efficient! The early solar panels based on Edmond Becquerel’s original discovery of the photovoltaic effect had about 1% efficiency at $300 per watt. In comparison, back in those days it cost $2 to $3 per watt to generate electricity using coal.
To say that solar panels have become more efficient since those days would be a drastic understatement. Here are some comparatives for solar technology then and now:
- The first silicon solar cells designed by Bell Labs’ in 1954 initially had a 4% efficiency, which was later increased to 11%.
- Hoffman Electronics achieved 10% efficiency in 1959, and increased it to 14% just a year later.
- Solar cells gained traction in the space program during the 1960s, which reduced their cost to about $100 per watt.
- In the 1970s, Dr. Elliot Berman brought solar panel prices down to around $20 per watt thanks to his discovery of a more cost-efficient solar cell.
- Since the 1980s, the cost of solar panels has been steadily decreasing. These days, residential solar panels boast 15-18% efficiency and can be priced as low as $0.50 per watt.
- New advancements are constantly being made. In 2021, scientists have developed a prototype of a both-sides-contacted silicon solar cell that has an efficiency of 26% or more. It’s safe to say that the future of solar power looks very bright indeed.
How much solar energy reaches the Earth each day?
Short answer: more than we would ever need. Long answer: no less than 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of solar energy constantly strikes the Earth. That’s over 10,000 times the world’s total energy use!
And best of all? This energy will remain 100% renewable for as long as the sun is around, which is literally billions of years. By going solar, we’re tapping into this boundless natural resource that more than meets our collective energy needs without requiring us to rely on harmful and limited fossil fuels.
How much power do solar panels produce in space?
Despite the immense amount of solar energy that reaches Earth on any given day, this power is still somewhat reduced by our planet’s atmosphere, seasonal weather, cloud cover, and nighttime. Since there are no such limitations in space, solar panels on spacecraft can annually produce up to 40 times as much energy as their Earthbound counterparts.
Scientists are currently working on a new technology that could beam solar energy from orbital solar panel arrays directly to Earth. Due to its incredible efficiency, this “stellar energy” may one day become our world’s main power source.
Who installs the best solar panels in Escondido & the nearby communities?
Having your solar panels installed and maintained by your local leading experts is the best way to ensure optimal performance for many years to come. With over 46 years of industry presence and an extensive list of successful installations, Action Solar is the best choice for all your solar and HVAC service needs.
Get in touch with us today and benefit from our high-quality USA-made products and expert-level workmanship, delivered with friendly customer service and extensive experience.