The sun is the most important source of energy for life on Earth, and it plays a critical role in the design and operation of sustainable smart homes like River Vine. Solar energy provides electricity, heats water and keeps 21st century life running smoothly. But while solar technology is cutting-edge, solar is actually one of the oldest forms of energy. The sun was born about 4.57 billion years ago, and it will continue to shine for another 5-6 billion years. Solar energy is not only infinitely renewable, it will outlast the Earth.
Here are some other cool things to know about solar.
1. Our ancestors have been harnessing solar energy for 2,700 years. In 700 BC, they used magnifying glasses and the sun’s rays to make fire—a skill that still comes in handy on Survivor.
2. The sun produces enough energy in one second to meet the world’s current needs for the next 500,000 years.
3. Solar energy is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh): 1 kilowatt = 1,000 watts x 1 hour. About 2,000 watts or 2kWh can power your smartphone for a year—an amount River Vine’s solar photovoltaic (PV) array can produce in about 15 minutes.
4. A 1kW solar system can produce 1,500-1,750 kWh a year in a sunny climate like California. River Vine’s 9kW system is expected to produce more than 15,000 kWh a year—enough to fully power home and vineyard the entire year.
5. Solar PV panels produce electricity even when it’s cloudy—as much as 25-50% of the amount produced on sunny days.
6. No sun—no problem. A solar energy system can produce electricity 24/7 when combined with home batteries in an integrated energy system.
7. Solar hot water systems use the sun’s rays to heat water. In a sunny climate, 60-70% of domestic water can be heated up to 140°F using a solar heating system. By adding an extra thermal collector, River Vine can meet 100% of its domestic hot water needs.
8. It takes 24 trees to offset the carbon emissions of the average American household. The average solar system offsets more than twice that.
9. Over 20 years, a typical solar system will save the average American homeowner $20,080. In high-cost electricity states like California, the amount saved averages $34,260. An integrated solar system like River Vine’s can save even more.
10. Not only is the sun’s energy free energy, it can turn a profit. Solar PV panels can send excess electricity production to the utility grid, increasing the payback for homeowners.
Learn more about River Vine’s integrated renewable energy systems.