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Solar power Facts

Power generated by converting sunlight into electricity

  • Solar power can be generated from sunlight into electricity.
  • There are two forms of power generation - directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP).
  • Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.
  • Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam.
  • The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s.
  • Horace de Saussure invented the world’s first solar energy collector, or ‘hot box’ in 1767.
  • In the 1830s British astronomer John Herschel used a solar energy collector box to cook food during an expedition to Africa.
  • Albert Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics (awarded in 1922) for his experiments with solar energy and photovoltaics.
  • First commercial-scale solar power plants are established in the 1980s.
  • Largest solar power plant is located at Mojave Desert of California. It is a 354 MW SEGS CSP.
  • Largest photovoltaic solar power plant is located at Golmud Solar Park in China and has a 200 MW power generation capacity.
  • Covering a small fraction of the Sahara desert with photovoltaic cells will be enough to generate all the world’s electricity requirements.
  • Earth receives enough sunlight that one of sunlife received on the entire earth is enough to meet the world’s energy demands for an entire year.
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