8 ways solar technology is transforming the world

person making a heart shape with hands and the sun
Posted 01/06/2018 by E.ON

Getting energy from the sun may be nothing new. But across the globe, there are exciting projects to make the technology even better, and helping to transform our everyday lives.

With a little help from some friends, we’re bringing some of this ground-breaking digital technology to Britain – with Project Sunroof

This new horizon has inspired us to look at some of the exciting ways that solar innovations are changing things for the better, on Earth and beyond.

1. A new moon

A Japanese company has plans to build the biggest solar strip in the universe – 238,900 miles away on the moon. The strip will run for 11,000 miles along the Lunar equator – that’s over 10,000 miles larger than the biggest solar farm on earth. It’ll supply our world with clean and unlimited solar energy for generations to come. 

2. Giving us clean energy… in more ways than one

“Mr. Trash Wheel” is a solar-powered device in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor that removed 350 tonnes of garbage in its first year and a half. That's nearly 200,000 bottles and a huge 6.7 million cigarettes. The clean energy-powered wheel is equipped with a conveyer belt; as the belt turns, garbage and other debris travel up the belt and are deposited into a dumpster and disposed of accordingly. 

3. Powering whole cities

A city is currently being built in Dubai that will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The Masdar City incorporates the Masdar Solar Power Plant – one of the largest solar photovoltaic systems in the Middle East and North Africa.

4. Transforming the way we travel

NASA is working on a solar-powered aircraft. The Helios Prototype reached a record altitude of 96, 863 feet in 2001, which is the highest altitude reached by an aircraft that’s not powered by rockets for sustained horizontal flight.

5. Creating new landscapes

In order to power the entire earth with renewable energy from the sun, we would need to install solar panels on over 191,000 square miles. Considering there are over 57 million square miles of land on earth, that’s a tiny fraction of the available space.

6. Changing local communities

Tesla runs an entire island on solar power. The island of Ta’u in American Samoa used to consume 300 gallons of diesel fuel daily to run generators, but is now powered by 100% solar. Tesla’s SolarCity system includes 5,328 solar panels, generating 1.41 megawatts of electricity. The energy can be stored in 60 Tesla Powerpacks—large batteries that allow Ta'u to stay powered for up to three days without any sunlight.

girl on a swing in the setting sun

7. Reducing pollution

A household rooftop solar panel system can reduce pollution by 100 tonnes of CO2 carbon dioxide in its lifetime. That’s the equivalent to the total energy use of an average household for 8 years.

8. And even predicting our potential 

Project Sunroof by Google allows homeowners to easily and accurately calculate the savings they could make by installing solar technology in their property. Built within the E.ON solar panel calculator, it uses Google Earth, Google Maps and 3D models to estimate how much solar potential there is on a property. It can even assess the impact that shade can have from a single tree.  

Discover more of our exciting innovations helping to transform the way we live.

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