Even though the sun is 93 million miles from the earth, its rays are powerful enough to provide light and heat to our planet, just as it has for millions of years. What if we could harness that power for other things?
- Have you ever used a magnifying glass to create heat on a sidewalk? Or made a box oven to heat a hot dog? You were using solar energy.
- Scientists have been working for many years to harness the sun’s power to produce both heat and energy like electricity.
- One of the challenges is that the sun doesn’t always predictably shine. What about at night? Or in the winter? Or during bad weather? Some places on the planet are naturally sunnier than others.
- Another challenge is the expense. Solar cells and solar panels that convert the sun’s power to energy are costly.
- Still, scientists keep working to make solar energy more and more possible. Solar power can heat water and make electricity. What if it could be used to fuel cars?
- Photovoltaics is the process of turning the sun’s power into energy. Solar-powered calculators, watches, and lights all rely on photovoltaics.
Questions and Answers
Question: Why do we need solar energy?
Answer: Solar energy has the potential of being an inexpensive, renewable, clean source of energy that might help us reduce our need for fossil fuels like gasoline and coal.
Watch a video about solar energy.