Edison Smiles Over Progress of Solar Energy

If you cruise the Internet and check out solar companies, chances are high you will find Edison’s famous 1910 quote:

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 17,500+ MW of cumulative solar electric capacity is now operating in the U.S., enough to power more than 3.5 million average American homes. This includes power generated from the three types of solar-electric systems: photovoltaic panel systems on the roofs of homes, businesses, schools … etc; large scale utility-size systems; and, solar thermal power generation systems [power towers].

(Pictured Left) Residential roof system being installed. (Pictured Right) School size system.

(Pictured Left) Residential roof system being installed. (Pictured Right) School size system.

Consider these additional important facts as well:

  • The U.S. solar industry employs over 160,000 workers.
  • 36% of all new electric generating capacity in 2014 was from solar systems.
  • Since 2004, the installed price of solar system capacity dropped from $8.50 per watt to about $3.80.
  • The over 1100 national commercial solar system installations displaced over 549,246 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The top three states with cumulative solar electric capacity are California, Arizona, and New Jersey.
  • US solar energy capacity grew an astounding 418% from 2010-2014.
(Pictured Left) Utility size system could cover square miles. (Pictured Right) Hundreds of thousands of mirrors concentrate sunlight to make electricity ... square miles of land needed.

(Pictured Left) Utility size system could cover square miles. (Pictured Right) Hundreds of thousands of mirrors concentrate sunlight to make electricity … square miles of land needed.

Solar electricity now contributes just a small fraction of our nation’s current electricity needs, but it is becoming a highly desirable and super-clean form of electric generation. If Edison were alive today, he would certainly be competing in the marketplace with new solar application ideas. Remember, it was Edison who gave us the modern electric utility system in the first place … and he was always improving his inventions, making room for new technologies. He would certainly make room for solar!

Editor Deep Dive

Try this … calculate how much solar energy could save when installed on your home at: pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Time® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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7 Comments

  1. Jasmine says:

    What a powerful quote!

    It’s amazing that Thomas Edison felt this way. I can’t wait for the day when 90% of out energy comes from solar!
    Jasmine´s last blog post ..10 Best Solar Path Lights for the right Landscape Lighting

  2. Good to read. I see many states going green soon by using solar energy system.

  3. Debbie says:

    It would be good if solar energy can be used by all sooner rather than later. But I’m afraid solar powered vehicles are still very far from now in terms of affordability. We still have to use fuel powered vehicles.

  4. Laurie says:

    This is a good read, thank you for sharing. I’m happy that more and more are turning to solar.

  5. Sansak says:

    Wow! Fantastic stuff !
    This is so chock full of useful information , I can’t wait to dig deep and start utilizing the resources you have given me . Your Exuberance is refreshing.
    Solar energy technologies convert the sun’s light into usable electricity or heat. Solar energy systems can be divided into two major categories: photovoltaic and thermal.

  6. John Mathews says:

    I’m really surprised that we aren’t utilizing solar energy to its full potential in the US. I think that it will take some time to overcome the push from the oil companies, but it will also allow the tech. to mature to its full potential. I definitely think that solar is the energy of the future especially with all the guides on how to install panels yourself and even get solar trackers working..

    Thanks for sharing,
    John
    John Mathews´s last blog post ..Arduino based Solar Tracker – Stepper Motor & Light Resistor Tutorial

  7. Elena Malta says:

    Loved this article about solar panel. What a fabulous idea! Love people putting their talent into these innovative solutions.

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