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As solar continues to be a cost effective and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, groups and individuals find creative ways to implement solar into their lives. The following blog will explore some of the ways people have implemented solar all over the world!

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Floating Solar Panels are mounted onto buoyant platforms that float on water reservoirs, lakes, and oceans. The platform and solar modules are humidity resistant, rust-resistant, corrosion-resistant, dustproof, and lead-free. The Dezhou Dingzhuang floating solar farm, completed in 2022 in China, is the world’s largest solar farm. The Dezhou Dingzhuang solar farm was built in two phases with capacities of 200 MW and 120 MW. It is also connected to a 100 MW wind farm and has 8 MWh of battery storage. The entire facility will generate approximately 550 million kWh of electricity every year. 

Solar canal projects are solar canopies that are placed over canals to generate clean electricity and to reduce water evaporation in arid environments. In February 2022, the first solar canal prototypes in the United States were developed in California’s central valley. A 2021 study demonstrated that covering California’s 6,350 canal network could save 65 billion gallons of water from evaporating annually while simultaneously generating clean energy. 

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In 2015, a solar bike path called SolaRoad was developed in the Netherlands. In the first operational year, the 250 foot path generated over 3,000 kWh of electricity and attracted over 150,000 bikers to the area. The Netherlands have since opened larger solar bike paths that will help the country reach their climate neutrality goals.

In 2017, China opened a 5,875 square meter solar highway that generates 1 GWh of electricity every year. The solar highway is built with a protective surface layer of transparent concrete, a middle layer of solar-powered batteries, and a bottom layer of waterproof insulation. It is estimated that 40,000 vehicles use the two-lane solar highway every day. 

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The space industry are avid users of solar technology. The Vanguard I satellite is the oldest manmade satellite that is still orbiting Earth. Vanguard I was launched in 1958 is powered by solar technology. Recently, the United Kingdom proposed a plan to build a solar power station in space. This plan would involve collecting solar energy in space and transferring it to Earth. While this plan comes with inherent challenges, high-efficiency solar cells optimized for use in space have recently been developed in the United States.

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Around the world, people are developing ways to add solar to their vehicles. The world’s first 100% Solar Powered Bus was built in Australia in 2013. The bus can travel 200 km between recharges under typical conditions. A variety of solar-powered boats are used globally and are available on the consumer market. Solar boats use the generated electricity to power the motors, navigation systems, and onboard electronics and appliances. Major benefits of solar-powered boats include unlimited range, no reliance on fuels, no noise, and less maintenance. 

On a smaller scale there are a variety of creative solar-powered inventions. Some of these inventions include: Solar Backpacks, Solar Hat Phone Chargers, Solar-Powered Plant Pots, Solar Umbrellas, Solar Charging Patio Tables, and Solar-Powered Security Cameras. 

As solar technology continues to develop, there will undoubtedly be more creative solar-powered inventions!

 

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