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Q: Is Solar Energy a new concept? How long has it been around?
A: Solar Energy has been around for a lot longer than people realise. The first Solar Photovoltaic Effect was discovered in 1839 by a 19-year-old French Physicist name Edmond Becquerel. His discovery seemed small at the time, however laid the platform for solar power as we know it today.
Here are some more key milestones in the rise of Solar Power today:
• 1976 The NASA Lewis Research Centre starts installing 83 photovoltaic power systems across the globe, to provide vaccine refrigeration, room lighting, medical clinic lighting, telecommunications, water pumping, grain milling and classroom television.
• 1977 Worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 500 kilowatts.
• 1982 Volkswagen of Germany begins testing photovoltaic arrays mounted on the roofs of Dasher station wagons, generating 160 watts for the ignition.
• 1983 Worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 21.3 megawatts.
• 1985 The University of South Wales breaks the 20% efficiency barrier for silicon solar cells under 1-sun conditions.
• 1992 A 7.5-kilowatt prototype dish system using an advanced stretch membrane concentrator becomes operational.
• 1994 The first solar dish generator using a free-piston Stirling engine is connected to an existing utility grid.
• 1996 The world's most advanced solar-powered airplane, the Icare, with 3,000 super-efficient solar cells, flies over Germany.
• 1999 Worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 1000 megawatts.
• 2000 Astronauts at the International Space Station begin installing solar panels on what becomes the largest solar power array deployed in space.
• 2002 Japan installs 25,000 solar rooftops on homes throughout the country.
• 2003 Global investment in solar and wind power exceeds US$20 billion per annum.
• 2006 Worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 1,744 megawatts.
Q: Why choose Solar Power over the usual sources of power I already use?
A: Energy Assurance
In this day and age of technology we depend, almost critically, on a constant flow of electricity. Without it, our economic, political and social infrastructures are thrown into chaos.
As an example of this, the Amazon. COM company loses $1 million each minute when a power disruption makes its website unavailable. As worldwide demand for energy continues to rise exponentially, systems designed for the expected loads and capacities of yesteryear are prone to failures such as power outages and wide scale blackouts.
What’s more, many forms of conventional electricity production – from oil fields and gas pipelines, to nuclear power plants and hydro-electricity stations - are vulnerable to a wide range of natural disasters, as well as vandalism, sabotage and acts of war or terrorism.
Renewable energy systems, on the other hand, allow us peace of mind with regard to electricity supply. They provide us with a highly reliable, low-cost source of power, and can operate independently in homes, office towers, shopping malls, administrative centres and government.
Q: Does installing Solar Power mean I might be helping the planet?
A: It certainly does!
Every day, more and more people across the globe are seeking ways in which they, as individuals can contribute to a cleaner, greener future for our planet. If you are considering solar power for domestic use, we commend you and hope the information provided here allows you to make an informed judgment about PV systems.
Renewable energy has almost no environmental impact: Studies show that more than one third of consumers are willing to pay at least $10 per month more for energy sources that do not harm the environment. As a clean and silent energy alternative, PV systems produce no atmospheric emissions, greenhouse gases, noise pollution or hazardous waste.