It’s no secret that solar energy has incredible potential to change the way we live on this planet. Many people ask how long it will take for solar energy to become the dominant form of power generation on Earth. More and more homeowners are investing in it, not just for the environmental factors, but so they can experience the savings too. It’s essential to look at what the market offers to have enough information to make an informed decision. So, let’s talk about some of the facts regarding solar energy and how helpful it can be to save money. This blog highlights exciting ways to harness the power of this renewable energy source. Some might even surprise you because, let’s face it, most people aren’t aware of all the many benefits solar energy delivers!

Fact #1

Solar energy is almost 200 years old.

Solar energy was first discovered in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel. While experimenting with a cell made of metal electrodes in a conducting solution, he discovered the ‘photovoltaic effect’ of electricity generated from direct sunlight. He noted that the cell produced more electricity under light exposure. In 1873, Willoughby Smith discovered that selenium could function as a photoconductor and, in 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day applied the photovoltaic principle (from Becquerel) to selenium, recording that it could generate electricity when exposed to light. However, it wasn’t until 1883 that Charles Fritz created the first working selenium solar cell, acting as a major precursor to the technology used today. Russel Ohl, in 1941, then produced the first modern-day solar cell, with NASA being the first to adopt this use of technology in the 1950s for the satellite Vanguard.

Fact #2

Australia’s solar radiation is the highest in the world.

Australia has the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent. We receive an average of 58 million PJ of solar radiation per year, roughly 10,000 times more than its total energy consumption (according to 2020 data), with the desert regions in the northwest and centre of the continent contributing to the height of this radiation.

Fact #3

Australian rooftops with solar PVs continue to increase.

In 2021, Australians installed a record 360, 000 rooftop PV systems, a whopping 40% more than that of 2020, according to the Australian PV Institute. Solar progress in Australia shows no signs of slowing, with 22.3 GW of installed solar installed as of mid 2021 – meaning Australia has nearly tripled its capacity since 2017. This rise is only expected to increase in the following years, and is a promising fact in the future of renewable energy across Australia.

Fact #4

It’s 100% renewable and 100% safe.

Solar energy is a 100% renewable energy source, as we’ll never run out of it, especially in one of the sunniest places on Earth. Installing solar panels allows you to convert sunlight into electricity, cleanly and quietly. Traditional electricity from fossil fuels is burned to produce electricity, emitting harmful gases that are the primary cause of air pollution and global climate change. Similarly, coal and natural gas plants produce air and water pollution that is harmful to human health. By replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, such as solar power, you can reduce premature death, as well as overall healthcare costs. Solar energy requires little to no water to operate, so, not only does it not pollute these resources, it also doesn’t put a strain on any of the world’s supply. It’s important to note the safety of PV systems can be considered like other electrical components; however, when professionally installed, with high-quality components, a solar PV system is perfectly safe. The only by-product of a home solar energy system is cheap and clean electricity.

Fact #5

The SRES boosts residential and small commercial solar PV installation.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is an incentive for individuals to install certified renewable energy systems up to 100kW. This includes wind turbines, hydroelectric systems, solar panel heaters, heat pumps and solar PV panels. Owners can obtain small-scale technology certificates (STCs) in a quantity defined by the amount of energy their systems can produce, with the value sitting at around $37. They are able to be sold off to high energy users that have to submit to a ‘Regulator’ every three months. This certificate covers approximately 30% of a 5kW total cost – about $2000 to $3000. The SRES is set to expire in 2030, with a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision recommending abolishing them to reduce electricity costs. However, the Clean Energy Council has opposed this as it is synonymous with high standards of safety and quality.

Fact #6

Australia is a resilient country, and solar PV can help.

Australia’s harsh climate puts us in a tough position, however the new decentralised grid vision and increased energy storage system (ESS) implementation is likely to broaden the future of the renewable energy sector, contributing to the well-being and stability of Australian citizens. This is why energy storage and backup storage systems are gaining traction across the country, with most states offering an incentive for their installation. Similarly, we can reinforce the grid by creating microgrid systems that can support themselves, without the power of retailers. Solar Communities or Digital Energy Communities utilise the public grid to allow participants to share energy amongst them. This means members are able to avoid blackouts during extreme weather conditions that may interrupt or cut off connection to the main grid. This energy community can be independent almost all of the time, and can help to build Australia’s energy resilience.

Conclusion:

What is clear is that solar energy is a big part of our future. Old panels may be on their way out, with newer, more efficient systems taking their place, but still, too many people are not jumping onto the bandwagon just yet. A lot of this has to do with the false perception that solar panels are out of the price range for most homeowners. But, by investing your money up-front into solar systems, you’ll begin seeing results in your energy efficiency within just a couple of months. And from there? You won’t look back. Solar panels save you from being charged higher energy rates that do eventually add up over time and tip your electric bill off its scale – especially during peak seasons. We hope these facts about solar panel systems will help you gain a clearer understanding of how they can benefit you. To learn more about solar energy and how it can help impact your life for the better, trust NuWay Solar to help you get started.