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Solar Power Facts

  • Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells. They are put together to create solar panels which convert the sun’s rays into domestic electricity. Some solar power systems include long-life batteries, which can store the energy until needed.
  • Photovoltaic cells are manufactured from a semi-conductive material which is layered; silicon is the most frequently used material for PV cell production.
  • The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square metre.
  • Although the sun is over 145 million kilometres from the Earth, it takes less than 10 minutes for light to speed across that distance.
  • The largest solar power plant in the world covers 1000 acres and is located in the Mojave Desert in California, USA. As of 2012, the largest solar power system in New Zealand was the 68.4 kW array that powers South Auckland Forging Engineering – providing 70% of its electricity requirements.
  • Solar cells generate energy in some surprising places – everything from satellites in the Earth’s orbit to cabins deep in the mountains.
  • From 2006, Genesis Energy began installing solar power systems in various schools throughout New Zealand as part of its ‘Schoolgen’ program, as a way of teaching students about solar power.
  • Solar energy has been used for thousands of years; in 700 BC, glass lenses were used to make fire by magnifying the sun’s rays.

The advantages of solar power are many and in the future this renewable form of energy is likely to only become more popular and widespread.