July 2021 Community Call - Solar 101

Published: 03 Aug 2021

We know that many Sun Exchange members are eager to understand more about solar power, why it’s vital for a sustainable energy future and how Sun Exchange harnesses the power of the sun, enabling people all over the world to earn with purpose. With this in mind, we focused last week’s Sun Exchange Community Call on providing an introduction and overview of solar power -- namely, Solar 101. Below is a recording of the call for anyone curious to learn more about solar power.

Here is a quick snapshot of some fascinating Solar 101 facts that we learned during the call.

History of solar power

Concentrated Solar Power has been around since the 1500s when Leonardo da Vinci tested the use of a parabolic mirror concentrator to heat water. While working at the Vatican, da Vinci experimented with ‘burning mirrors’ and conceived that these could be used to focus sunlight and harness it. Fast-forward to 2020, and advancements in solar technology enable the world to produce 800 terawatt-hours of solar energy, around 3.5% of the world’s electricity. By 2050, solar PV is expected to reach 4.7 terawatts, making it the world's largest source of electricity.

What is solar power?

Solar radiation is light that is emitted by the sun. When solar technologies capture this radiation, it turns it into useful forms of energy. The most familiar way is through photovoltaic or PV for short.

Why is solar power so important?

The largest single source globally of the emissions that cause climate change is the use of coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity and heat. Shifting the world’s energy generation towards clean, renewable energy sources is now more critical than ever. Solar energy is the most deployable form of renewable energy in the world. This means that it is the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way to harness energy sustainably. Furthermore, roughly 1 billion people still lack access to electricity globally. Beyond offering an attractive, clean and practical alternative for energy capacity development, solar also unlocks critical socio-economic development, improving education, healthcare, safety and human rights conditions across emerging markets.

We hope you enjoyed learning about solar power and the critical role you play as Sun Exchange members in driving the global clean energy transition and creating a more sustainable future for all.