Some facts about the sun and solar energy we thought you might like to know:

 

1. The sun is 90 million miles from Earth, but it takes less than 10 minutes for light to travel that much distance.

2. Energy from the sun is both a free source of energy, and the most abundant source on Earth. 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of solar energy continuously strike the Earth — that’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use!

3. The cost of solar panels has fallen almost 100 times over since 1977, and they are about half the price today as they were in 2008.

4. NASA uses solar energy and photovoltaic panels to power many different forms of spacecraft in the inner solar system, including the International Space Station.

5. Nearly 784,000 U.S. homes and businesses have gone solar as of 2015, with a new solar project being installed every 2 minutes.

6. California and Arizona are both in the top ten “Most Attractive States for Investing in Solar,” according to Clean Technica News. The Southwest in general has incredible solar potential.

7. The solar energy industry is creating jobs six times faster than the overall job market, according to the latest study from The Solar Foundation, with a double-digit annual growth rate. Jobs include installations, sales, marketing, manufacturing, and software development.

8. Solar energy is completely renewable, at least for another 5 billion years! The lifespan of the sun began approximately 4.6 billion years ago, and it has enough hydrogen and helium to last about another 4.5-5.5 billion years [1], when it will then swell dramatically before collapsing into a white dwarf. [2]

9.In comparison, solar energy is much cleaner than petroleum oil and gas, nuclear energy (Uranium), and the burning of coal, which can all cause heavy air and water pollution. Solar panels do not produce greenhouse gases or cause any water or air pollution. They could cause indirect harm to the environment because of toxic chemicals used to create the photovoltaic cells, but U.S. environmental laws regulate the use and disposal of such materials.

10. The first practical silicon solar cell was developed in 1954 by researchers at Bell Labratories, where they demonstrated their solar panel by using it to power a small toy Ferris Wheel and a solar powered radio transmitter. The New York Times wrote that the silicon solar cell “may mark the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams–the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”