Solar panels are becoming more common here in the UK as we attempt to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions and make the move towards a cleaner, greener energy solution. Although we don’t enjoy as much sunshine here as we would like, solar power is still a viable option. Here are some amazing facts about solar energy:
1. We’ve already been using solar power throughout history – it’s used for heating, for drying clothes and textiles and is used in desalination processes to remove salt from sea water to render it safe to use and drink.
2. Solar cells are already being widely used to power portable devices like mobile phones and tablets. Recent innovations have included solar powered rucksacks that will charge a laptop PC and even solar power clothing that will charge a phone!
3. An electrical engineer in Idaho has come up with the idea of a solar powered roadway made from super strong glass instead of the usual asphalt or concrete. This solar technology could clear the roads of snow and ice and save billions on the cost of gritting, snow removal and weather damage (no more potholes appearing in our roads after the harsh winter weather). Plans are already underway in the USA to install solar roadway prototypes.
4. Google is getting in on the solar act and has recently launched what it describes as the “world’s largest solar power project” on the California/Nevada border. Google has invested $168 million (£101m) into the plant which it’s estimated should save around 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Google is committed to promoting the company’s green credentials and last year it topped Greenpeace’s ‘Green IT League Table’.
5. A UK company has come up with a glow in the dark bike lane that is solar powered. Dubbed “Starpath”, the surface material absorbs UV rays from the sun and stores them as energy in luminous particles. The light from the path is designed to allow pedestrians and cyclists to see the way ahead in the dark. This innovative technology is already in use in a park in Cambridge – it’s easy to install using paint sprayers and rollers.
6. A company in the United States is supplying solar flooring – a walkable PV (photovoltaic) non-slip glass surface designed to aid in integrating solar energy into buildings. Compliant with anti-slip regulations and able to support 400 kg in point load tests, the flooring can be used with a LED backlit system to enhance the aesthetic appeal while greatly reducing the building’s environmental impact.
7. Swedish home furnishings giant, IKEA is set to offer solar panels in 17 of its UK stores this coming spring. In a bid to shift to renewable energy in its stores by 2020, IKEA plans on investing millions of dollars in solar and wind-power generation in order to cover 70% of its energy use by 2015.
8. A Japanese construction company has come up with a “lunar solar power generation concept” to solve Japan’s energy problem by installing a giant belt of solar panels around the moon’s equator!
9. Space missions have been using solar power since as far back as 1958. Spacecraft in the inner solar system use photovoltaic solar panels to use energy from sunlight to power sensors, heating, cooling and telemetry. Amazingly, solar-electric propulsion is used to provide propulsion power for the spacecraft.
10. Our sun is in the top 5% of stars in the Milky Way in terms of both size and brightness. Although the sun is more than 90 million miles away from Earth, it takes less than 10 minutes for light to cross that distance.
Written in partnership with Energy Bonds a brand of CBD Energy Limited. If you are interested in investing in solar energy visit Energybonds.co.uk to discover how you can earn money from the sun.