20 Really Awesome Facts about Solar Power


I love discovering new facts about pretty much anything.  Any day I can learn something is an awesome day.  Any day I can learn something new about light, it’s an even better day!

Here’s 20 Really Awesome Facts about Solar Power!

  1. The first working, practical, usable solar cell was created by Bell Laboratories in 1954.  It only produced 1 Watt of energy for $250/Watt.  Now that’s Cost INeffective!
  2. Photovoltaic (PV) cells made from the silicon in 1 ton of sand can produce as much electricity as burning 500,000 tons of coal in a power plant.  Why are we burning coal again?
  3. Light that comes from the Sun takes approximately 8 minutes and 20 seconds to hit the Earth.  How’s that for light speed?  Wacka wacka!
  4. In the state of California, if we covered every available commercial and industrial roof with solar power panels, ALL of California’s electricity demand could be generated during the daytime, forever.
  5. A few hundred years ago while traveling to Africa, a scientist named John Herschel created a cooker using the Sun to cook food, inventing the first Solar Cooker.
  6. The first traceable use of the Sun as a tool was back in 700 BC, when people learned how to concentrate the Sun’s rays with the use of a magnifying glass of sorts.  As a kid I always felt terrible about the thought of burning ants, which is probably why I never joined the Military!
  7. In 1981, a man named Paul Macready produced the first solar powered plane — Paul’s plane used more than 1600 solar cells mounted on its wings.  Paul Macready flew from France to England.
  8. 2012 was an unbelievable year for massive solar collection plants.  The largest solar energy plant is the Golmud Solar Park in China, with an installed capacity of 200 megawatts.  Arguably, this is surpassed by India’s Gujarat Solar Park, a collection of solar farms scattered around the Gujarat region with a combined installed capacity of 605 megawatts.
  9. There are two types of Solar Panels for use in commercial and residential applications — Photovoltaic panels and Solar Thermal panels.  PV panels work by converting the Sun’s rays to electricity, and Solar Thermal panels work by absorbing the Sun’s heat energy to warm up water by circulating the water through it.
  10. Solar collection on its own is a carbon neutral, pollution-free method of collecting and generating energy.  The only carbon creating part of solar power is the manufacture of Solar Panels and the accessories that go into building a solar panel system.
  11. In one hour, the Sun provides more energy to Earth than the whole world uses all year.  Approximately 120,000 terawatts (TW) hit the Earth’s surface each day.  Over the course of a year, the world only uses 15 TW of energy.
  12. The diameter of our Sun is 1,392,000 kilometers across while Earth is just 12,756 kilometers across.  Earth is 109 times smaller than our Sun, and our Sun can hold over a million Earths (that is if we didn’t become like the bits at the bottom of the pan of bacon before we got all of the one million in there).
  13. In only 20 days, the Sun could match the power of all of the world’s resource stockpiles of oil, coal, and natural gas.  Why are we ruining our world with crap energy sources again?
  14. Regardless of the completely negative and destructive effects of continuous usage of oil, coal, and natural gas in the world’s countries, human civilization is very slow to adopt Solar Power to replace even one of the non-renewable energy sources.  As of September 2012, only 0.05% of the world’s power comes from Solar sources.  Doesn’t that disgust you?
  15. Of all the Solar energy that strikes Earth, only 50% is absorbed by Earth while 30% of it is reflected back into space.
  16. To date, the most efficiency that solar power manufacturers can reach is barely 47.12%.  So for all of the sunlight that burns down onto a solar panel, at best there will only be around 40% converted.  This is also a best-case scenario, and the actual percentage is considerably lower based on many factors.  Typically, efficacy of Solar panel technology is around 15%.
  17. Production of 1 kilowatt of solar energy is equivalent to burning 170 pounds of coal which releases 300 pounds of carbon dioxide.  This is comparable to preventing 15 gallons of gas from ever being used!
  18. If you cover 10,000 square miles of land in the Southwest United States, it would generate enough power to meet the energy needs of the entire country!  To silence the anti-Solar power whiners on the Internet, the US has strip-mined at least that amount for coal.  No wonder the environment is slipping.
  19. As of October 2012, Germany is using Solar power with the most fervor, followed by China.
  20. The real kicker — all current fossil fuels are just stored versions of Solar energy!

Have a great day, everyone!

solar power tower

Thanks to Going Green, All Purpose Guru, Wikipedia on John Herschel, Solar Gadgets, USDoE, Explore Green Tech, St. Gobain Solar, Green Building, Renewable Power News, and International Energy Association!

A Light-Up Tony Stark Shirt Arc Reactor Shirt?!


I hate to admit this, but I thought those crazy Iron Man movies…  WERE AWESOME!!!!

Ok, maybe the second more than the first, but seriously — mindless explosions, glowing stuff, and a plot line that’s looser than most of my high school girlfriends?  How could you POSSIBLY go wrong?!

I saw this over at ThinkGeek the other day and I nearly lost control of my bladder — this is almost as cool as that glowing EQ shirt I saw back in Vegas last year!  Meet the illuminated Tony Stark shirt from ThinkGeek!  Frankly, it’s an awesome deal at $22.  You bet your ass I ordered one!



But soft — there are informations about the shirt that little Stark wannabe Iron Men should heed!  From the ThinkGeek page:

  • Officially licensed Marvel collectible
  • Black cotton t-shirt containing a light-up Arc Reactor
  • Looks like a standard t-shirt, but it’s actually the Iron Man Mark IX suit
  • Flexible interior with knitted cotton exterior
  • Provides protection from adverse weather, UV rays, and temperature extremes
  • With fresh batteries in the battery box, Arc Reactor will glow when switched on
  • Will not prevent shrapnel from reaching your heart
  • Machine washable (all electrical components can be removed from the shirt)
  • Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)

I LOVE THIS!  Just remember:  this WILL NOT PREVENT SHRAPNEL from reaching your HEART!

Thanks to JoBlo and ThinkGeek!

Two Kittens, One Laser


I think that it’s about time to take a second and laugh your butt off.  Yeah, it’s been a hard week, things haven’t gone how you wanted, and now Claudia Schiffer is too uninterested in you for anyone to care.

What to do?  Kittens and a laser.  Works every time.


Rrrrrrrroll, with Eight “R’s”

Call me crazy, but I adore art like this below.  Tumblr users Rrrrrrrroll have created a series of GIFs that feature a woman spinning around in a series of environments.  There’s really not much to say about this work, you have to just see it.  Even the creators were quoted as saying “We don’t really have any specific reasons for starting “rrrrrrrroll,” but we were all thinking how cool it would be if we could produce something while just hanging out.”

Fair enough.  Good enough for me.  Check these out below, these are just some of my favorites.  Lots more to see on the Rrrrrrrroll Tumblr page, so check them out!

Lamps That You Shoot On and Off

My dad would love this.


Also, this:

This is from a company called bitplay, INC from Japan.  About the lamp:

BANG! is a desk lamp with a gun-shaped remote controller. User can fire the “gun” to turn the light off. The light goes out and the lampshade knocks to the side, showing that it’s been hit. To turn it back on, simply shot it again, and the lampshade will raise up slowly and turn the light back on at the same time.

So obviously you know now that it’s called BANG! – I’m guessing.

The History of Light, Boiled Down to 36 Seconds

It’s obviously not the whole history of the way we deal with light, but it was fun to try to pick moments out as they flew by in 36 seconds!  Check out this fun little video from Aurora Lighting.  Just a warning, but turn your audio down a crank, because it’s backed with techno and it’s very above-average in volume…



I hope that everyone is having as interesting of a day as I am – taking a 1975 Mercury Comet to an oil change place is a TRIP!

Due to some circumstances that arose, and I have to change the day of the TweetUp to Saturday night, November 21, 2009 at 8pm.  Same fun, same bat channel, all that – something just came up for Friday night that I have been asked to do.  We are really hoping that everyone will still arrive and have a great time!  We have things to hand out, we have a big announcement to give, and other stuff that will rock!

Sorry for the day change, I hope this doesn’t blow out anyone’s candle!  Remember, if you’re tweeting about the and TweetUp, use hashtag #ldi09tweetup!

Have a great day!


Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hope that you have a fun night of tricking, treating, trick-or-treating, and overindulgence of sugar.  I’m going to a party dressed like a grease monkey, and my wife is going as me.  Oh, we’re a crazy pair.

Have fun!


Lighting Up The Pool

Only twice in my career have I had the opportunity to throw a whole bunch of light into a swimming pool.  Once for a corporate party at an olympic sized swimming pool, and once for a rave that took place at a pool park.  Those were two of the coolest design gigs I ever had the pleasure of doing.  Water and swimming pools allow so many excellent things to be created with light.  Red light, for example, at the right angle, turns the water a murky swampy black color.  It is awesome.

I was looking at the Gadgeteer blog a few days ago, and I came across a post about these little pool lights – LED, they float around in your pool, and they make a whole bunch of hippy trippy lighting effects on the bottom of your pool.  I guess it’s getting about pool time, as temperatures slowly warm up.  Check out this really short video:


I found about three different models of these things at Amazon, between twenty bucks and fifty five bucks.  When I was a kid, we always had some kind of above-ground pool, usually 4-5 feet deep – but we would play with underwater flashlights and soda bottles for our light show.  Toys are so much cooler now.

Check these out.  These things make me want a pool!  You think they might work if I just dug a big freaking hole in my backyard and filled it up with water?  I bet my neighbors would love me for that.

The $19.99 model:  The AquaGlow Underwater Light Show


The $29.99 model #1:  The AquaGlow Underwater Kool-Light-O-Scope


The $29.99 model #2:  The AquaGlow Underwater Light Starship


The big mama $59.99 model:  The AquaGlow Underwater Light Show and Fountain


Thanks, Gadgeteer!