Solar Energy

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Energy from the Sun

Solar EnergyThe sun has produced energy for billions of years.  Solar energy is the sun’s rays (solar radiation) that reach the Earth. This energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity.

 

In the 1830s, the British astronomer John Herschel famously used a solar thermal collector box (a device that absorbs sunlight to collect heat) to cook food during an expedition to Africa. Today, people use the sun's energy for lots of things.

Solar Energy Can Be Used for Heat and Electricity

When converted to thermal (or heat) energy, solar energy can be used to:

Solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways:

Two drawbacks of solar energy are:

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