Solar energy is simply the light and heat that come from the sun. People can harness the sun’s energy in a few different ways: Photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. You may have seen solar panels on houses, on electronic road signs, or in parking lots to power lights.People who have solar panels on their homes buy less electricity from their utility companies because they’re producing some electricity on their own.
If you have enough solar panels, you might even be able to generate more power than you need, this means you can run your electric meter backwards (smart meters) and give your extra electricity to the rest of the community. The electric company ends up paying you! Solar thermal technology, where heat from the sun is used to make hot water or steam. Solar thermal power plants use heat from the sun to create steam, which can then be used to make
electricity. On a smaller scale, solar panels that harness thermal energy can be used for heating water in homes, other buildings, and swimming pools.
Passive solar heating, which can be as simple as letting the sun shine through windows to heat the inside of a building.Have you ever noticed how sunlight streaming through a window can make your home feel warmer, even on a cold day? If so, you’ve seen passive solar heating in action! People can
design or remodel buildings to take advantage of heat from the sun during the winter.
It helps to have large windows that face south (the side that gets the most sunlight everywhere north of the Equator) and are not shaded by other buildings or trees. A good design often includes overhangs, movable awnings, or blinds that block the sun during the summer when people need to cool their homes instead of heating them.