For centuries, humans have tried to harness the seemingly endless power of the sun. And now, it seems like we’re making some big strides.
Here are just a few amazing places where solar is really shining.
Up on the roof
Perhaps the roof isn’t an unlikely place for solar panels to live. Maybe it even makes the most sense. But Tesla’s new rooftop solar solution is unlike any we’ve seen before.
Instead of mounting traditional solar panels, the forward-thinking transportation and energy company developed a series of roof tiles that mimic the look of four common roof types while also harvesting sunlight as efficiently as traditional solar panels.
According to Electrek, “Tesla says the system can achieve 98% of the efficiency of a standard solar cell despite being a more complex system for being integrated with the roof.” What’s more is that these tiles are extremely durable, lasting up to 2-3 times longer than traditional shingles. Soon, these might adorn the roofs of homes in every neighborhood in America.
Ta’u, American Samoa
A series of diesel-powered generators has historically been the source of electricity for the small Samoan island. But, as we all know, fuel tends to run out, and a shipping boat’s worth isn't always at arm's reach.
“I recall a time they weren’t able to get the boat out here for two months,” says Keith Ahsoon on Science Alert.
It takes a lot of fuel to power the island. To help residents be more self-sufficient (and to showcase more of the company's innovative solutions), Tesla has helped them switch from diesel to solar energy.
Yes, the entire island.
Tesla partnered with Solar City, a company that specializes in affordable solar solutions, to install over 5,000 solar panels. And although it’s only 17 square miles (a little smaller than Manhattan), the island is now almost completely dependent on solar energy.
On the farm
We don’t tend to think of the Midwest as a solar energy hot spot. Long winters characterized by short windows of sunlight don’t make it an obvious place for the fad.
But for farmers, solar is the perfect solution when they need energy the most. “It’s a huge buzz now throughout the agriculture industry,” says CB Solar Director Todd Miller according to Midwest Energy News.
Farmers in Washington County, Iowa, have “access to an unusual and lucrative combination of federal, state and utility incentives” to use more solar energy, and it’s paying off in as little as a couple years.
With their array of fans, water pumps, milking equipment and more, farms consume a lot of power, “with monthly electric bills sometimes running into the thousands of dollars,” according to the same article.
And it goes well beyond Iowa. Solar energy purveyors all over the Midwest have seen an increase in solar demand.
Solar energy has always been a fascinating innovation. But by all accounts, solar is having a moment that won’t likely end soon.