The energy of the sun can be used in many ways. When plants grow, they store the energy of the sun. Then, when we burn those plants, the energy is released in the form of heat. This is an example of indirect use of solar energy.
The form we are interested in is directly converting the sun's rays into a usable energy source: electricity. This is accomplished through the use of "solar collectors," or, as they are more commonly known as, "solar panels."
Solar power panels at a solar power plant in Boron, California
There are two ways in which solar power can be converted to energy. The first, known as "solar thermal applications," involve using the energy of the sun to directly heat air or a liquid. The second, known as "photoelectric applications," involve the use of photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy directly to electricity. Learn more about them by following the links below.
Solar power has an exciting future ahead of it. Because solar power utilizes the sun's light, a ubiquitous resource (a resource that is everywhere), solar panels can be attached to moving objects, such as automobiles, and can even be used to power those objects. Solar powered cars are being experimented with more and more frequently now.
Solar energy panels on "Dream Car I", Australia
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