In a Flash
We can capture the sun's energy to power our homes.
What is solar energy?
Solar energy is heat and light that comes from the sun's rays. This is known as radiant energy, because the sun radiates (or sends out) a huge amount of this energy every day.
Solar energy can be used to make electricity or heat a home’s water or air.
How is solar energy used?
Solar power is captured when energy from the sun is converted into electricity, or is used to heat air, water or other fluids.
Electricity from solar power is used in people's homes, in schools (like yours!), and to supply power for equipment such as telecommunications and water pumps.
There are two main types of solar energy technology:
Solar thermal is when sunlight is turned into thermal energy, or heat. Most solar thermal systems use solar energy to heat up space or water. An example of this is a solar hot water system.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is when sunlight is converted directly into electricity, using photovoltaic cells. For an example of a PV system, just look up – the solar panels on the roof of your school are using PV cells to generate electricity right now!
What are the benefits of solar energy?
Solar energy comes jam-packed with benefits. Here are a few reasons why solar power is so awesome!
It's renewable, which means we will never run out of it.
It's easy to generate – once solar panels are installed and are running at maximum efficiency, they only need a small amount of maintenance.
It's silent – PV cells make no noise at all as they turn sunlight into usable electricity. So we can enjoy the peace and quiet!
It's non-polluting. Solar electricity power plants produce zero emissions whenthey're up and running.
Why is solar energy a smart choice in Australia?
Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, making it an ideal place to capture the sun's energy for solar power.
And while us humans need to be careful under the hot Aussie sun, PV cells love nothing more than a good dose of sunshine! When the sun hits these cells, the light causes the electrons to flow, which generates electricity.
What Do You Mean?
We can see the light and feel the heat that come from the suns rays.
Solar energy is energy that comes from the light and heat radiated from the sun.
Solar thermal is the generation of thermal energy (heat) from the sun's energy.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the generation of electricity from the sun's energy, using PV cells.
Renewable energy comes from a source that will never run out. Solar energy is renewable because it comes from the sun.
Every second the sun produces enough energy to sustain life on Earth for 500,000 years.
The Earth gets more energy from the sun in one hour than is used in the whole world in one year!
If every rooftop in Australia was covered with solar panels, it would supply the electricity needs for our entire country.Solar panels can keep working for decades – some installed in the 1970s are still generating electricity today!
Sunlight is converted to energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells.
Solar energy is energy produced from the sun – it can be converted into electricity or used to heat air or water.
Take this to the classroom!
Curriculum ready content.