The sun’s energy can be converted to electricity using solar photovoltaic technology. After watching a short video, students work with a partner to reinforce key points and explore the pros and cons of solar power.
- makes use of a reusable resource
- you can make electricity close to home
- solar energy is everywhere
- it doesn’t pollute
- it isn’t always sunny
- need special minerals to make solar cells
- need experts to create solar systems
- less efficient converting solar to electricity than other ways electricity is created
The Sun is the Earth’s main source of energy. Sunlight can be captured and turned into photovoltaic (electricity) and thermal (heat) energy.
Photovoltaic technology converts the sun’s rays to electricity. Photovoltaic facilities have a large number of panels, each containing a number of solar cells made from silicon. When the sunlight hits the solar cells, photons of light from the sun excite the electrons in the solar cells to create an electric current. This electric current is collected to make electricity. Solar panels are often placed on roofs, where there is little shade, so that the sunlight has a clear path to the panel.
Solar energy is considered one of the cleanest and most renewable sources of energy. There are no direct greenhouse gases released into the environment from the generation of solar power. There are some greenhouse gases released from the production of the solar panels though and photovoltaic solar panels can require significant space.