As a child, did you ever use a magnifying glass to focus the energy of the sun onto a dried leaf to see if it would burn? It usually did. Those same rays harness solar energy with rooftop systems to create clean electricity for your home. In the U.S. in 2015, the growth of residential solar roofs grew 70% year-over-year and went from four states (with California leading the way) to ten states today. Why the popularity? Here are five facts you may not know about solar energy that make it so appealing.
Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth.
173,000 terawatts of solar energy constantly shine on the Earth. That’s equivalent to more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use!
You can earn credit for the extra energy you produce with home solar panels.
With Net Energy Metering, you’ll receive credit that can be applied to your bill. Yes, you’ll still have a minimal bill from your utility company since you need the electric grid, but you’ll be making money while the sun is making more energy for you and your neighbors.
Solar panels create jobs for diverse backgrounds.
Solar industry employment has grown by 86% in the past five years, creating 80,000 jobs. Positions including installation, manufacturing, sales, and project development statistically employ more jobs for women, veterans and Latinos.
Space programs used solar power in the late fifties early sixties.
Solar has been around. It was used to power space equipment such as satellites and space stations as early as 1958, which was the first commercial use of solar energy.
The United States, Japan and China are the major markets for solar energy.
In order to capitalize on solar energy, countries need a solid electric grid because the energy still needs to be distributed. China has been a fast-growing contender, with Chile and South Africa as emerging markets.
It’s the Golden State, California, that takes the lead in solar power. With its grid technologies, use of clean power stored in batteries, and market approaches, California is a global leader in solar power and will yield lessons for the rest of the world to learn.
The California-based HERO Program can help you find out if solar is right for you!