What is Solar Energy?
Solar Energy is energy from the sun. The sun generates energy in its core through a
process called Nuclear fusion. In nuclear fusion, the sun’s high pressure and hot
temperature causes the hydrogen atoms in the sun to come apart. This causes their nuclei
to combine. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse together to make one helium atom. Some matter
is lost during nuclear fusion and this matter goes into space as radiant energy. This solar
energy travels to earth, but only a small percentage of it hits the earth. This small
percentage is still large enough to supply the nation’s energy needs for one and a half
How is Solar Energy useful to our world?
Solar energy is used in many useful ways. A solar collector collects heat from the sun
and can be used in an active solar home. An active system uses special solar collectors
that look like boxes covered with glass. The dark colored metal plates inside the boxes
absorb the sunlight and change it into heat. Air or liquid flows through the collectors and
then is distributed to the rest of the house. This is how the house is heated by one form of
space heating, the active solar home system. A solar water heater works in the same way
as solar space heating. By using a solar water heater, someone could heat their water for
their home and it would pay for itself in as little as five years. Also solar electricity is
being used today. Solar electricity is used to power solar-powered calculators, toys, and
Some of the earliest examples of people using the sun can be found in 400 BC. The
Greeks were the first people to use solar architecture. Solar architecture was using the
sun’s rays to do useful things during the winter, but also keeping the rays out in the
summer. They built whole cities sometimes based on this solar architecture.
The Romans improved the Greek’s solar architecture when they created glass
windows. The glass windows would trap the solar heat and help heat the house. Also the
Romans would bring foreign fruits and vegetables from the Middle East and Africa.
They would grow these foods in their colder climate by using the window glass to make a
A French-Swiss scientist discovered a way to make a box trap heat and reach a boiling
point. Then a man from Maryland, USA, figured out how to use the scientist’s idea to
heat water. This was the first form of the water heater. In 1909, a man named William J.
Bailey, from California, improved the tank type heater by separating the water heating
system with the water storage system. This kept the water from cooling down over night.
The water heater has been improved since then to become the water heater we have
Solar cells were discovered in the 1950s. These solar cells helped to power satellites.
Before the satellites, solar cells were very expensive and there was no use for them at that
time. When satellites were created, a sustainable market for solar power was also
Light and Solar Power
Photovoltaic cells are made up of two layers of silicon with chemicals in the middle. The
light from the sun is used to charge the electrons in the chemicals. These electrons are
now energized so they move through the cell and flow into a wire, which creates an
electrical current. The light is used to create solar powered electricity.
Solar energy is a very important topic that more people should educate themselves on.
With the shortages of oil and natural resources being less accessible, solar energy is
looking more like the power source of the future. Also solar energy is better for the
environment then the gasoline and other harmful things we use today. The more research
done on solar energy, the quicker more people will start using solar power. Before doing
research on solar energy, I had no idea there were so many different things already using
solar energy to power them.