Caffeine fiend, forager, and science nerd currently in South Florida.
The sun is our prime power source on earth. Our planet has always benefited from solar energy. Without it, the earth would be another cold, dead rock floating in space.
Algae, plants, and trees are the best solar collecting and processing factories known to man. Many animals including humans process sunlight into the vitamin D necessary for health. Only recently in our history as a species has mankind realized the potential of the sun as a clean, renewable source of energy that far exceeds our current power usage.
There are two ways we collect radiation from the sun and turn it into usable energy here on earth: with solar thermal and photovoltaic systems.
Solar Thermal Systems collect energy from the sun and convert it into thermal power. The thermal power itself can then be used for multiple purposes, from providing hot water to a residence or heating a restaurant oven, to generating the intense temperatures necessary for industrial metallurgy.
The thermal energy produced by these systems can also be converted into electric power. Thermal systems have followed various designs and used various types of collectors and concentrators. The most efficient design to date, a solar dish/Stirling system, achieved over 31% efficiency.
Another positive aspect is that molten salts can store the excess thermal power produced. The heat from these salts can provide direct thermal power or produce electrical power for the grid long after sunset.
Photovoltaic systems are components designed to convert light (usually sunlight) into electrical power. PV systems may be configured in one of five ways:
1) Grid-tied and battery storage
2) Grid-tied without
3) Off-grid and battery storage for both AC and DC appliances
4) Off-grid and battery storage for DC only appliances
5) Off-grid without a battery (system direct)
A PV array incorporates multiple solar panels which convert sunlight into usable direct current. A basic photovoltaic system in the US, intended for residential, commercial, or industrial use, typically has one or more PV panels, a DC to AC power converter, hardware for supporting and mounting the panels and electrical wiring. It may additionally include other task-specific accessories to address the owner's specific needs, such as a battery system and chargers, or revenue-grade metering (necessary for participation in energy tax incentive or sell back programs, or for receiving grid credits.) In some countries, grid ties and metering are mandatory.
The number of panels in the array determines the total DC output of a PV system. The converter governs the amount of AC wattage that is distributed for use. Any difference in DC output and AC usage could be stored in a battery or used to run a DC device.
Our Solar Powered Timeline
- The history of solar power dates back to the 7th century BC when people first used lenses to magnify and focus sunlight to light their fires.
- In 212 BC, Archimedes, the Greek physicist, mathematician, engineer, and inventor, may have been the first to exploit sunlight as a weapon of war. According to history, by his plan, Greek soldiers angled their highly polished bronze shields, effectively using them as collecting mirrors to concentrate sunlight on each of the wooden Roman ships besieging Syracuse Harbor until all of them were set alight. No definitive proof has been found to support historical records. However, the Greek Navy successfully tested the theory in 1973, setting fire to a tar and plywood mock-up at a 50-meter distance.
- In 1839, French scientist Edmond Becquerel, then age 19, invented the first true PV system while experimenting in his father's laboratory. The system was comprised of an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes placed in an electricity-conducting solution that generated electricity when exposed to light.
- In 1878, French inventor Auguste Mouchout became the pioneer of solar cooling when he made ice by attaching a refrigeration device to a solar-fueled steam engine.
- In 1954, the first silicon PV cell, a precursor to all contemporary PV technology, was invented at Bell Laboratories.
The Benefits of Solar Power Today
Today even a small PV system is capable of providing enough electricity to power a single home, a satellite, an electric car, or a drone aircraft.
Total global solar capacity increased over a three-year period (2010-2013) from 40 GW to 139 GW. Germany reported the most capacity at 36 GW. Today worldwide capacity exceeds 500 GW. China reports the most capacity with the US and Japan close behind. The world is expected to exceed 1000 GW in the next 3 years.
Renewable energy technologies continue to advance as does the marketplace for the power produced. In 2013, the solar industry employed over 140,000 Americans and was creating jobs six times faster than the overall job market. Those numbers rose to over 260,000 jobs by 2016 then plateaued, due in part to imposed tariffs against China and other administration policies.
Depending on location, PV rooftop arrays may be available to qualifying homeowners as a leasing option. The homeowner benefits from lower energy bills. A third-party provides the initial investment, installation, and upkeep.
The costs associated with producing solar power plummeted during the past 15 years. Most of the declining cost is due to the increased production of PV modules and improvements in technology.
Obstacles We Need to Overcome
The obstacles that stand in the way of us harnessing our solar potential are many and varied. Some of these that need to be overcome in the near future include:
Lack of political will and short-term economic policies have slowed technological improvement in the energy sector. Politically, a large part of the resistance facing the so-called "solar revolution" is a PR problem. Conservative governments and entities have viewed alternative energies like solar, at best, as tree-hugging idealism and at worst as threats to corporation interests, traditional principles, and even to political stability in general.
Of course, the most effective cures for the fear of new times and technological progress, are new times and technological progress. Younger people and the better educated are always less afraid of the future and more accepting that change is inevitable. They also feel more capable of being a part of the positive changes to come.
PR campaigns could update out-dated perceptions, educate about the benefits over non-renewable sources, and promote current technological breakthroughs in the field of greener energy as heroic and worthy of our efforts and aspirations. Society needs to be excited about our promising renewable future, not dreading the future in general.
On the environmental front, the solar industry has plenty of room for future improvement before it becomes a truly clean industry. While using solar power produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants directly, the production of industry-standard equipment, including PV modules and batteries, requires the use of many toxic materials which need safe recycling and disposal solutions. Recently some progress has been made when cheaper and more common substances proved viable substitutes for more expensive and harmful ones. There is still much to do.
Thermal systems fry unlucky birds in flight. The placement of collectors can create a loss of habitat for plants and animals as well as cause other types of environmental damage. Better wildlife safety and environmental preservation are areas the industry needs to address in the coming years, along with tackling more basic cost and efficiency issues.
Economic and Technical Obstacles
Until recently, the economic potentials of alternative energies have been largely overlooked in favor of greater investment in fossil fuels. Solar power is becoming more competitive due to lower costs and increasing efficiencies. In places like Hawaii, where energy costs have always been high, solar power is already far cheaper than fossil fuel sources. In fact, utility companies have refused to connect new PV systems to the grid because the popularity of home PV systems far exceeds the needs of the grid during peak production hours.
This highlights the main technical problem facing PV systems at the moment, the lack of storage capacity for saving electric power produced for off-peak and night-time usage. Better, cheaper, safer batteries and supercapacitors, and more affordable, and efficient thermal storage are challenges for the future.
Recent Milestones in PV and Battery Storage Technologies
- In 2011, a thermal plant in Spain became the first to produce electricity for 24 hours straight, using molten salt storage.
- In 2012, Stanford University Professor Xiaolin Zheng introduced flexible peel-and-stick PV cells that can adhere like stickers to a window, the case for an electronic device, a car, or any other surface.
- In 2014, Scientists from Vanderbilt University announced the development of a strong structural supercapacitor that can be shaped into any form and operate under high mechanical stress. This means roof tiles or the façade of your house could one day serve as storage for excess power collected at peak hours.
- In 2015, scientists from Stanford University reported the invention of an aluminum-ion battery which is rechargeable, safer, less costly, and more environmentally friendly than disposable alkaline or rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They believed that the new aluminum-ion battery combines a long life cycle with the ability to be recharged tens of thousands of times and thus will be better suited to the storage needs of the grid.
- In July 2017, a George Washington University researcher unveiled a prototype for the most potentially efficient PV module in the world, a stacked GaSb-based multi-cell device capable of capturing most of the energy across the full spectrum of light. It converts direct sunlight into electricity with 45% efficiency.
- In August 2017, A University of Sydney team pioneered the use of a bimetallic oxide-graphene hybrid material as a bi-functional oxygen electro-catalyst, thereby creating an economical solution for the problem of recharging zinc-air batteries. Zinc-air batteries are cheaper and far safer than lithium-ion batteries and potentially store many times more energy.
- In May 2019, physicists at the University of Toledo announced the creation, testing, and tweaking of perovskite solar cells as a possible replacement for current silicon cells. The cells convert sunlight into electricity at 23% efficiency and would be less expensive to produce than industry-standard silicon cells which currently reach 18% efficiency. Unfortunately, the perovskite is a lab-created material that requires lead to produce. They are looking at ways to reduce or replace the lead with other eco-friendly materials and at cleaner methods of recycling.
- In June 2019, Dutch car company Light Year announced the production of the Light Year One, the first solar car available for the public to purchase. The top and hood of the car are made from PV cells embedded in thick safety glass. An adult can stand on top of the car without inflicting damage.
Where Solar Power May Take Us in the Near Future
The US Department of Energy expects that in the near future all new construction in the US will combine energy-efficient design and renewable energy production.
Exciting innovative technologies currently under development will transform the ways we collect and utilize solar power. Vanadium and organic flow batteries, graphene PV cells, and other new materials and technologies will allow us to harvest and store energy more efficiently, more eco-friendly, and at far lower costs. If governments, scientists, corporations, and individuals support and advance solar power now, within our lifetimes the sun can supply most of our energy needs. This means abundant, safer, cheaper, cleaner, more reliable, non-conflict energy, and a sunnier future for everyone.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Besarien (author) from South Florida on July 16, 2019:
Thank you for your comment, au fait! I think you are exactly right about the dynamics of how money and politics has hindered cleaner energy.
C E Clark from North Texas on July 16, 2019:
So full of great information as I have learned I can depend on you to provide on whatever subject you write on.
I think the main problem with changing over to clean energies such as solar or wind, is that a lot of wealthy people are heavily invested in petroleum products. If we are to change, they can't sell their stocks because who would buy stocks in an industry that will shrink or die? Some of these investors have all their eggs in the petroleum basket and would lose everything, or most of what they have, if we moved to clean energies, no longer depending on what has been their sole means of income from generations back.
The wealthy have a lot of sway when it comes to our Congress and their willingness to invest in clean energies. The money in politics is another issue and it needs to stop, but Congress isn't' likely to vote against taking money from donors when they benefit so richly.
It should be about becoming energy independent, improving the health of our citizens, and taking care of our one and only earth, but sadly, it's about the money. The money that benefits just a few, if you consider the millions of people who would benefit by switching to clean energy.
This is another fantastic article!
Hayyat from Lahore on February 24, 2018:
So much informative hub. Solar system is a word commonly known to us. Interesting to know about, what solar system actually is.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on September 09, 2017:
The Archimedes story was really interesting. I can't wait for solar power to be sufficiently controlled so that we won't need electricity anymore. I wonder, however, if they are also finding ways to control solar fires, just like we have had electrical fires in homes? At any rate, if that is also controlled then solar energy would be most gratifying on the pocket.
Uday Patel from Jabalpur, MP, India on September 07, 2017:
Really informative and useful. Mini solar farms could be the answer for reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy. Government incentives and encouragement would work wonders.
Scott S Bateman on August 27, 2017:
I have been watching the improvement in solar cell efficiency in recent years along with the decline in average prices for solar panels.
We may cross a tipping point at some point soon when it makes economic sense to transition all homes to solar instead of only the ones in areas of the country that have consistent sunshine throughout the year.
It will be interesting to see the impact on climate change as we transition from carbon-based energy to renewables.
Dan W Miller on August 22, 2016:
I am just so in awe of you. Nothing weird or personal. Just 10 hubs. 10 HUBS?!
I have wanted some things so bad it hurts. They may even seem silly to most but being the best or recognized for talent at something you like is ... I've experienced it, can't describe it.
(Stupid, I know.) Being an All-Star in Little League. I had three chances. Did it the third time. Then again as an adult. I'd miss, then finally after two years.
Appearing on a big stage. I had to wait until I was 50 and had the time. THEN I dreamed of headlining. Again, had to wait and finally in a small show.
Winning a Hub Of The Day is... so, so far... out of reach, it seems. You did it so easily. Winning an accolade from my peers on this site was SO thrilling. I tell other people and they don't get it or realize how difficult it is to attain one.
But you wrote two words to me and coming from you was like a voice coming down from The Mountain.
"You rock." (See? Stupid, I know.) I can't give up now. And the thing is, I really have nothing I want to attain more IN LIFE. I've done it all. The house, kids, etc. THIS hope I have, like the All Star and being a star on a stage, is deeper, more personal.
I don't know if I can ever do it. But when your idol says, "You're golden." I just appreciate it more than you'll ever know. (Stupid. I know.)
nnms on July 17, 2016:
Yes, solar power is potential energy of the future despite the difficulty in its hardneesing.
Great and useful hub.
Besarien (author) from South Florida on February 03, 2016:
Hello prairieprincess! Am so happy that you found my article on solar power useful. I am a geek especially when it comes to all sorts of tech, but innovations in cleaner energy is a subject very close to my heart.Thank you very much for the kind words (you made my day!) and support. Best to you and yours, Besarien
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on January 30, 2016:
Very interesting hub, with good information. I did not realize how long we, as humans, have been using solar power. I will be saving this article to Pinterest, to refer to it, again, because it contains so much information. Also, sharing with my followers. Well done!
Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on December 22, 2015:
Well researched, interesting and thought-provoking.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 17, 2015:
What a fantastic article. It shows how behind the times my knowledge was of solar power. It has advanced so much since I last read about it years ago. I hope solar power takes the place of electricity. The Philippines has the third highest electric bills in the whole world!
Besarien (author) from South Florida on May 17, 2015:
Hello Adventuretravels! I'm right there with you on fracking and exploiting the Arctic. It's a dirty business in more ways than one.
Besarien (author) from South Florida on May 17, 2015:
Thanks for stopping by Valeant! I appreciate your comment.
Hi Akriti Mattu! Thank you!
Au fait! Thanks for coming back and for all your kindnesses and encouragement.
JOC from Syracuse, NY on May 13, 2015:
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 10, 2015:
Tapping solar energy is extremely important. Excellent post.
C E Clark from North Texas on May 05, 2015:
Having another look at this excellent article. Hope everyone reads it and learns more about this important subject.
Giovanna from UK on April 30, 2015:
I ma sure that we will get there in the end. Solar power or any other clean energy will save us. But at the moment we're still fighting corporate greed. I just wish they'd stop fracking and leave the arctic in tact! Great hub. Voted up and shared.
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on April 29, 2015:
Outstanding Up, U/A/I.
C E Clark from North Texas on April 27, 2015:
So packed with good information and a person has a much better understanding of this energy source after reading this excellent article. I can see why it was chosen for Hub of the Day. I think all of your articles that I have read so far should be HotDs.
Voting this up and sharing.
Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on April 15, 2015:
Excellent Hub, Besarien. Solar energy is one of many renewable energy resources we must tap to save our environment and to become energy independent.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 09, 2015:
This is an outstanding article; deserves Hub of the day for sure!
Besarien (author) from South Florida on April 06, 2015:
Hi aviannovice! I did hear about it. Apparently it isn't an uncommon problem there. I believe the official response had to do with them testing new ways to discourage flocks of birds from getting near the facility. One idea is blasting the sounds of predator birds like hawks and eagles. It is going to make the place even spookier to the locals. Hopefully it means no more dead birds.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 06, 2015:
Excellent overview and a great deal of information in such a small space about the benefits of solar power. On the downside, I recall the Mojave plant in CA last year was generating so much heat with their panels, that birds were being cooked in mid-air. Have you heard about this ad how it is being handled?
manatita44 from london on April 04, 2015:
A very well written and thoughtful article. I see that you got mostly 'awesome', but your ideas are noble and wholesome, so why not 'beautiful' as well?
Essentially I liked your face and wanted to welcome you here, which I'll still do. Still, I was attracted - post reading your profile - about the 'Solar' Hub. I will be seeing my friends next week in NY, God's willing, and they will love you. We do a lot of work in poorer countries, and solar panels are important to us.
God bless you this Easter Sunday, and also for you well researched and informative Hub. Much peace.
Adrienne Farricelli on March 31, 2015:
An awesome hub on solar polar. Living in Arizona, I see many homes using solar panels. I would love to use solar energy, but the costs are quite prohibitive as of now, even with the tax credits. I should look into the leasing options though.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 31, 2015:
Wonderful hub Besarien. Solar power and other renewables are definitely the way of the future. We have a small off-grid solar array but need to expand it. It is good that prices are dropping now and batteries and panels are becoming more efficient. Governments have to begin concentrating more on solar than coal and gas and realise that it will create many more new jobs. Worthy HOTD, congratulations.
Joel Diffendarfer from Jonesville on January 23, 2015:
Excellent and well presented article. Worthy of a re read and makes for a great classroom disscussion study. I'd love to see you explore the "other" energy alternatives in the same way. I believe all the sources mentioned in the poll are well worth considering and the utilization of all would solve many world energy problems. Great job, write on!!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 14, 2014:
wow, you have made a brilliant hub. Could you write more coz you have the talent
Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 05, 2014:
One thing to think about ( those interested and have some extra cash) is a solar powered hot water system. If you are building new (or renovating) you can install one for about 5k (The main cost isn't the panels but the Hot water cylinder as they are specially built) but it will cut your electricity bills by at least 30% and usually pay for themselves within 7-10 years!
In some parts of Australia it's mandatory that all new houses have to have them (We're hoping that law comes to NZ soon!)
Besarien (author) from South Florida on December 05, 2014:
Hi Perspycacious! You are right about high demand. You might want to explore some DIY options that are relatively easy to make and install and will cost you far less in time and money. Lots of people are doing it for themselves and showing the rest of us how. I think it would be worth while for me to expand a bit on that facet of solar. Thank you for your input! A writer's critique is a bit like a payday but better! No taxes! :)
Hi Frank! Thank you for the beautiful compliment! It means a lot.
Hi Margaret! Thanks for your lovely comments. This topic is so huge that my main challenge was to try to present a rounded overview. I had read a lot of pro-solar articles that ignore the challenges ahead and didn't want to do that. Thanks again for taking time to let me know what you think!
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 05, 2014:
Is production of efficient, lower cost PV meeting demand, or is demand keeping prices artificially high and seemingly out of the reach of average homeowners and small businesses?
I want it, but the goal of low cost may not be served by everyone wanting it at the same time. Production capacity needs to be balanced with demand and go in tandem. That can be a tricky balancing act.
That reality takes nothing away from this being a wonderfully educational effort as a Hub.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 03, 2014:
this is a hub of the day poem I put my vote in.. useful.. and educational
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on November 14, 2014:
Thank you for doing such a terrific, well-researched, well-informed job of presenting the compelling case for harnessing solar energy on a much wider scale. The lack of political support is largely the result of the mass ignorance about the overwhelming benefits. The majority of people, especially those who are not well educated, tend to reject or fear the unfamiliar. So I agree completely that a PR campaign that educates that majority is our best strategy for improving adoption of solar energy technologies. I also think that the concerns about the use of toxic materials to manufacture industry-standard solar equipment is valid and I am hopeful that the research into non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternatives will yield a solution that more of us can get behind unequivocally. Congratulations on your well earned Hub of the Day!
Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on November 13, 2014:
Here in New Zealand we use all four
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on November 13, 2014:
Thank you for your response that is what I would have thought too. So maybe it was just one of those stories put about by the harbingers of doom and gloom?
GNelson from Florida on November 13, 2014:
Very informative, thanks. A lot of common sense.
Richard from Hampshire - England on November 12, 2014:
A really enjoyable hub. Solar energy is in so many ways a no-brainer in that we are fortunate enough to have a boundless (at least in human terms) source of energy bombarding us with all types of EM-radiation that we could be harnessing. The only issue that I can see for solar power in its current state is that the manufacture of P.V cells requires a supply of rare earth metals (e.g. tellurium which is 3 times rarer than gold). In terms of quantity of raw material available it should be possible to meet current demand however China controls about 95-97% of the supply and has clamped down somewhat on trade. An additional caveat is that the production of rare-earth metals in China is often done in appalling conditions raising ethical questions about some facets of renewable energy sources. That being said renewable energy must gain influence in our lives by necessity and the bumps in the road outlined here should not put people off advancing or supporting the technology in any way.
p.s. In response to Dressage Husband regarding the 400 years of energy in the sun. I am not certain of this and don't mean to put words in anyone's mouth but I would take that 400 year figure to be based on our predicted power consumption combined with current solar cell efficiency and available land area that could be covered with solar cells.
In other words our demand for energy is predicted to rise dramatically over the next decades and the earths surface area will remain constant. The amount of radiation from the sun hitting the earths surface will still be the same but (assuming solar technology remains at the same efficiency) after 400 years we would no longer have the space to put down more solar panels to meet any increase in energy demand after that 400 year mark.
Sorry for waffling on a bit there I can only blame the author for writing a hub that was TOO engaging! ;)
Moumita Dasgupta from Kolkata on November 11, 2014:
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”
Sun has so much to give us, and we hardly utilise it in the right manner, harnessing the solar power is a little tribute to this cosmic body that how special it is to our life and with the development our thoughts and ideas to use the natural resources to save as well as use them in a measured way.
Besarien (author) from South Florida on November 10, 2014:
Hi Dressage Husband! Thanks for your comment. As far as I am aware, the sun is going to keep sending light and heat to earth for another 5,000,000,000 years. We really don't take anything away from the sun by collecting the solar power that hits earth. The sun keeps sending it to us anyway. If we could collect and store all the solar energy that falls on earth in a single minute we'd have enough to satisfy the energy needs of everyone on the planet for a year.
David Stone from New York City on November 10, 2014:
I appreciate the thoroughness and accuracy of this article because it addresses what I consider the single most challenging issue facing us today - preserving our environment.
Hard to say what's worse, the mountains of misinformation or the failure of political will in taking action. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that there are no quick cures, and our failures in recent years to do something to improve how we provide energy will hurt us for decades.
I hope your article will play a role in helping people understand the situation enough to get our leaders moving forward with solutions. A good job for a good cause.
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on November 10, 2014:
I voted this up as interesting, however the topic is not quite as cut and dried as it appears. I have seen scientific papers discussing solar power and the problem is it is not renewable. Once the sun has burned up that is it. One reason NASA have been sending so many satellites towards it is to establish the effects of solar devices on the solar power source.
One of these that I saw pointed out that the sun only has sufficient energy to support our needs for 400 years if the world went fully solar. The issue is that like a battery the more we draw on the suns power the faster it will decline. Do you have a view on that?
Besarien (author) from South Florida on November 09, 2014:
Thank you! I'm pretty passionate about solar power. If we had cheap clean energy, we could fix a lot of what is wrong with the world. It would be a really good start.
Besarien (author) from South Florida on November 09, 2014:
Hi pateluday! Thanks for your comment! It is my hope that that pv cells increase in sensitivity too. That way in areas with less hours of sunlight and cloudier conditions enough electricity could be generated (an hopefully stored) to justify instillation costs in most places at least. There is so much exciting research going on all over the world. Plus, the technology we need is not so far from reach. It can only be a matter of time.
Al Wordlaw from Chicago on November 07, 2014:
Very good research besarien, I hope it will become more economical for us to use. Seems like it will. We'll fight with you to get it more universally operating. I love this idea. Be blessed!
Uday Patel from Jabalpur, MP, India on November 07, 2014:
Exciting prospects of cheap solar energy! Most of the countries that receive high degree of sunlight are ideal for this energy.
Cercle Marrakech from Marrakesh, Morocco on November 07, 2014:
Very good information
Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on November 07, 2014:
Gratitude for your covering this topic and covering it so well. I am certain that if western countries subsidized solar the way we subsidize oil, not only would we provide millions of jobs, but we could outfit every home and business in the country with solar energy.
Congratulations on your Hub of the the Day. Well earned.
Lareene from Atlanta, GA on November 06, 2014:
I enjoyed this hub and learned a lot too.
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on November 06, 2014:
Very well done on this informative hub. I would love to go green all the way harnessing the sun's power. Congrats on HOTD!
Keisha Hunter from Kingston, Jamaica on November 06, 2014:
Thomas Harry from San Antonio on November 06, 2014:
Great hub! I am in the midst of upgrading my home to solar power. Although its still a bit expensive, I have a feeling in the next couple of years more and more people will move to solar. San Antonio experiences a few power fluctuations during mid summer heat and is pushing solar pretty hard right now. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.
ArtDiva on November 06, 2014:
This is an interesting, informative, and well written article. Saw a 60 Minute segment once about a start up company introducing a product that looked like a small black cube, currently used as a collection of cubes to power several large corporate buildings at considerable savings. Cost is still a big factor though. Even considered for my home, but initial cost and maintenance are expensive. But, it is the future.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on November 06, 2014:
As has already been mentioned, this is an informative hub with a masterful presentation. I've been meaning to learn more about solar energy, but haven't quite gotten to it yet. Thank you for giving me the nudge with so many fascinating facts, such as how Germany operates over a quarter of the world's solar total, and the availability of stick-on solar panels. I had also not considered how solar panels can displace entire eco-systems at this point.
My organic-farming son has a number of solar panels and they live off-the-grid quite effectively. They also look to diversify their energy capture (using wind and geo-thermal as well as growing methods) but at this point it seems that solar power is the most provident. Now I might be able to start a conversation with him.
Thank you for the energy that went into this post and congratulations on your HOTD!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2014:
It took me 825 hubs to win a HOTD. You did in with two. :) Well done my new friend. I hope we see more writing from you soon.
Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on November 06, 2014:
Solar is really the best bet. I just wonder how well it works the farther North that you go where you get less direct sunlight. Great Hub
poetryman6969 on November 06, 2014:
Eventually, my money's on solar. If only you could get a couple of human selfies like Trump, Cuban, etal to go GaGa over solar you might have the impetus you need. Imagine if a group of billionaires gets together, makes a deal with a small town, takes them completely off the grid and puts them completely on solar. Make a reality TV show on all the problems they have and all the solutions they come up with and TV could be useful for once. They would need to do things like string transmission lines, store power for overnight use, etc.
Sharon Lopez from Philippines on November 06, 2014:
You covered a very interesting subject. I personally trying to learn more about solar power considering that our country is prone to environmental hazards which sometimes would cause to having no electricity for a long period. But I don't think that our country is ready for this technological advancement. I can see several complaints on solar powered products that I guess needs to be addressed by the proper authority. I hope our government could also look into this matter.
mySuccess8 on November 06, 2014:
Fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) are the largest source of electrical energy, but being non-renewable, will run out. As you have emphasized and clearly explained in the article, recent major advancements in solar power technology have led to its decreasing costs and improved operating cost-effectiveness. We look forward to see more solar panels being installed for individual homes, with the increased awareness of the need to convert to renewable energy sources. Congrats on Hub of the Day!
Nell Rose from England on October 27, 2014:
This is really interesting, and great reading! it always fascinates me how solar power works, the potential of it and how it can be used all over the world, so great hub, and as billy said, such a good start!
Dragos from Romania on October 23, 2014:
Nice in depth analysis and presentation of solar energy potential and applications. I had no idea that people were dabbling with solar energy so far back as the 1870s.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2014:
Very good information, and excellent job of presenting it. I can tell you, without a doubt, that this is infinitely better than my first hub. :) Well done!