The sun may be 150 million km away, but it has a lot of potential sunshine power here on Earth! Solar energy is a type of energy that we get from the light and heat of the sun. Using the sun’s energy doesn’t create any pollution and is therefore great for the planet!
There are a few different types of solar energy:
Photovoltaic (fo-to-vol-ta-ik) energy is electricity generated by the sun’s light (photons) shining on a solar panel. Solar panels are really just a bunch of photovoltaic cells stuck together, which are very good at absorbing tiny bits of solar energy and converting it into power that we can use. Some watches and calculators are powered by tiny photovoltaic cells instead of batteries, and did you know that solar panels are also used by astronauts to power space stations? Stellar!
Thermal (heat) energy technology captures the same photons, changing light from the sun into heat that powers a generator and makes electricity. Not only can this type of technology help keep your house warm during a cold winter’s night, it can also be used to heat the water coming through your tap.
And finally, have you ever stepped into a greenhouse and instantly felt warm? Well, this is called passive thermal energy, the easiest form of solar energy we can use because there isn’t any machinery or technology involved. The sun shines through the clear walls of a greenhouse and naturally heats up the space. But it’s not just greenhouses; some buildings (and animals) also take advantage of this heat!
Did you know that the sun produces enough energy in just 1 hour to equal all of the energy humans need in a whole year? We think the planet is bound to have a bright future with this renewable energy source.
Generously sponsored by: