Solar Power: How Many Factories Use Solar Energy?

When you think about the energy crisis and the increasing costs of fossil fuels, it’s easy to be convinced that we need to find alternative energy sources. Fortunately, the planet has been blessed with a natural abundance of solar energy and the technology to collect and harness it have been around for some time now. If we look to the past, we’ll see that many historical figures and cultures have heavily relied on solar power due to its non-renewable nature. Let’s have a look at how many factories currently use solar energy around the world and the advantages that this clean power source provides.

Current Use Of Solar Power

Solar power has been used for various applications, including electricity generation and desalination (for drinking water). It has also been shown to be a valuable supplement to the energy grid, particularly in areas where energy production is low and demand is high. The following are a few examples of interesting current applications of solar power around the world.

Electricity Generation

Installing a solar panel system on one’s roof is the simplest and most straightforward way of generating electricity. In fact, many urban poor communities in developed countries have banded together to form ‘solar cities’, where residents have installed a variety of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems to generate electricity and provide an affordable and accessible energy option for their communities.

Based on available data, about 35 million homes in China have installed some form of PV system. These homes produce enough electricity to power a city the size of Beijing. If we assume that each system generates an average of 5 kilowatts of electricity, this would be enough to power about 20 million urban households.

PV systems are very efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, with most installations producing about 3 to 7 times more electricity than they consume. As a result, they not only help reduce the world’s energy dependency on fossil fuels, but they also contribute to economic growth by providing necessary energy for industry and development. When you combine these factors with the fact that solar power is completely free, it’s easy to understand why this energy source has been touted as the ‘fuel of the future’ for so long.


In arid regions such as the Middle East and southern Africa, desalination has been used for centuries to provide freshwater. However, the advent of modern desalination techniques and the increasing availability of cheap electricity has made this option much more attractive. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have even mandated that all new homes and offices be built with this technology.

Using advanced membranes, a technique called reverse osmosis was developed in the 1940s to remove salt from seawater. Since this development, many different membranes have been experimented with, with the most popular ones being polyamide, PVDF, and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). Regardless of which type of membrane is used, desalination using this technique is a very effective way of generating freshwater.

Reverse osmosis membranes are highly efficient at separating water molecules based on their sizes, with the result being pure water. This makes desalination using these membranes very cost-effective and a valuable option for regions where access to fresh water is scarce. For instance, the International Desalination Association (IDA) reports that the average desalination cost is $0.004 per gallon, which is well below the $0.01 per gallon charged by many bottled water companies. Additionally, the water is practically potable, which is important in places where water sources are contaminated.

Distributed Generation

In the middle of 2017, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, South Korea’s LG Chem, announced that it had installed over 500 megawatts (MW) of battery storage on roofs, in parking buildings, and at fuel terminals, demonstrating its ability to provide reliable power even during times of extended load-shedding. LG Chem plans to increase this capacity to 1,000 MW by the end of next year, demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach in providing both energy and capacity for the grid.

This option is called distributed generation, which combines various forms of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric, to provide needed electricity. When a region is reliant on a handful of large power plants that provide power only at certain times of the day, the addition of small-scale rooftop PV systems and battery storage, allows for more flexibility and increased reliability of the electric grid. This, in turn, reduces the chances of load-shedding that can lead to power outages and economic hardship.

Industrial Use

In certain regions, such as Iceland and Ireland, solar power has been used for a variety of applications, including heating, cooling, and electricity generation, in industry.

These countries, which were early adopters of this technology, have benefited greatly from the use of solar power, due to their geothermal resources. However, this energy source has been shown to be very effective in reducing air pollution and global warming, due to its non-combustible nature. In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that about 7 million households in developing countries, particularly in Africa and South Asia, benefit from electricity production via solar power.

Solar power has been extensively used in industry, particularly in the manufacturing of textiles, plastics, and cement, where it has been found to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30%. In 2017, about 7% of the world’s power generation was provided by industries, with a further 28% coming from agriculture. As we know, electricity production via solar power is completely clean and green, which makes it an ideal option for industries that rely on clean air.

Future Of Solar Power

Based on current trends and future deployment, the following areas could soon be using solar power.

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