SUN REAL Renewable Energy Systems

Solar Power - Facts & Figures

Solar power is the generation of electricity harnessing light from the sun through solar cells, or photovoltaics.

The photovoltaic effect was first reported by a French physicist, Becquerel, in 1839. The first commercial silicon cell was made by Bell Laboratories in 1954.

The sunlight hitting the earth's surface in one hour is enough to supply the energy needs of humans for one year.

A one kilowatt solar system saves one tonne of CO2 emissions every year.

A solar energy system consists of a number of solar modules which are typically mounted on a roof or facade of a building or ground mounted for other applications.

A solar module is made up of 36 mono crystalline cells laminated behind a toughened glass front surface and sealed into a frame.

BP Solar Australia will produce "Saturn" mono crystalline silicon cells, the highest efficiency cell on the market, at their new Sydney plant.

The new technology cells will produce a 30% increase in power over conventional solar cell technology.

New technology has enabled the cost of solar cells to decrease. In the 1960s solar cells cost about $200 per watt, in the 1970s, $20 per watt and in the mid 1990s, $10 per watt, with the potential for further decreases.

Australia is a world leader in achieving high efficiency from laboratory crafted solar cells. BP Solar has developed this technology and used it in commercial production.

It is expected that by 2000 there will be a global market for solar cells worth about $1.2 billion, three times what the market was at the beginning of this decade.