FACTS AND STATISTICS
Here's some fascinating statistics, facts and trivia about these power sources.
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- It would take only around 0.3 per cent of the world's land area to supply all of our electricity needs via solar power.
- The area of roof space available in Australia is enough to provide all of the nation's electricity, using solar panels.
- Weight for weight, advanced silicon based solar cells generate the same amount of electricity over their lifetime as nuclear fuel rods, without the hazardous waste. All the components in a solar panel can be recycled, whereas nuclear waste remains a threat for thousands of years.
- Solar and wind power systems have 100 times better lifetime energy yield than either nuclear or fossil energy system per tonne of mined materials.
- The amount of energy that goes into creating solar panels is paid back through clean electricity production within anywhere from 1.5 - 4 years, depending on where they are used. This compares with a serviceable life of decades.
- The theoretical limit for silicon based solar cells is 29% conversion efficiency. Currently, polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels generally available have efficiencies anywhere from 12% to 18%. With the addition of solar concentrators, The efficiency of photovoltaics is eventually likely to rise above 60 per cent.
- The Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year.
- Wind is a form of solar power, created by the uneven heating of the Earth's surface.
- At the end of 2007, worldwide capacity of wind turbines in operation was just over 94 gigawatts.
- Solar radiation and related energy resources including wind and wave power, hydro and biomass make up 99.97% of the available renewable energy on Earth.
- By the end of 2007, the total installed capacity of solar hot water systems globally was approximately 154 gigawatts.
- The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s.
- The world's largest wind turbine is currently the Enercon E-126
- with a rotor diameter of 126 meters. The E-126 produces 6 megawatts, enough to power approximately 5,000 European households.
- In 2008, Europe leads the world in development of offshore wind power.
- Germany has nearly half the world's installed solar cell capacity, thanks to a generous feed in tariff program . In 2006, the country installed 100,000 new solar power systems.
- Global annual photovoltaic installations increased from just 21 megawatts in 1985, to 2,826 megawatts in 2007.
- Solar energy prices have decreased 4% per annum on average over the past 15 years.
- In 2007, wind power made up 40 percent of new generating capacity installations in Europe and 35 percent in the USA.
- Manufacturing solar cells produces 90% less pollutants than conventional fossil fuel technologies.
- The solar industry creates 200 to 400 jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation for every 10 megawatts of solar power generated annually.