What Is Solar Energy?

You see and feel solar energy almost every day. Sometimes you may need sunglasses when you go outside because the sun is so bright. And you might feel hot. That’s SOLAR ENERGY. Bright. And warm.

Best thing about solar energy? It never stops….except at night, LOL. Thank goodness. If we didn’t have the sun, it would get really, really cold. And plants wouldn’t grow. We couldn’t live.


That would be bad for everybody!

The Sun Energizes Everything

People have been using the sun for centuries. We learned to cook with it and even to start fires with it. We even built some of the earliest buildings to use it for heating and to avoid it for cooling!

But more recently, some smart people realized that it could do a lot more. They started to figure out how to make it improve our lives and do things we need by turning it into electricity. Special materials were found that react to the sun to make that power. Just like your skin feels hot and might begin to sting and turn darker, these materials react to the sun, too.

photovoltaic-diagram

How Do You Make Electricity From the Sun?

It’s called photovoltaics. Scientists found when you connected a wire to certain materials and exposed them to the sun, you got electricity. Those materials react to the solar energy by moving electrons faster through their shapes.

So far, the best material for making power from the sun is silicon. When you look at a house with solar panels, that’s what is inside them. But scientists are constantly searching for new materials and creating new combinations to make it work even better.

How Can You Use Solar Energy?

In Massachusetts and Rhode Island you probably already know somebody with solar panels of their roof.

It May Be You!

Any family using solar power this way is buying less energy from their power company. And they are helping to reduce the emissions from power plants that those companies still use. That’s important for the air we breath and for the planet we live on.

Solar Power In Everyday Use

Solar energy powers more than your TV and refrigerator, too. There are some really cool ways that you can use solar energy for things you do every day. Portable solar power means you don’t need wires and an outlet. You can now buy solar powered backpacks, and solar powered radios. We can now even charge our phones and other things using solar powered chargers! Sometimes solar power helps keep things going when there aren’t any power lines or places to plugin.

Who knows what new devices we may see soon. All thanks to solar power!

Portable and foldable solar charger.
Solar powered radio
Solar powered lightweight backpack