Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy released from the sun. It can be found inside the center of the sun where hydrogen atoms come together to create helium in a process called "nuclear fusion".  It can be found in electricity from heating our homes to powering our cars, solar energy is used daily.

How is solar energy used?

Solar energy is harnessed to generate energy in three different ways, photovoltiac, concentrating solar power technologies, and solar heating. Photovoltiac is when the suns light is collected by a solar cell and can either be passed, absorbed, or reflected. Concentrating solar power technology is essentially any type of machinery used to collect the suns heat and create electricity. ( solar panels) Solar heating is the most simple use of this type of energy, and is used in almost our everyday lives. It is when anything you leave out is heated by the suns rays. These methods are still in use today.

This is a simple photovoltaic system
This image depicts how a concentrating solar power works.
This image depicts how solar heating operates

Environmental Impacts

Solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy. It produces no air or water pollution. However creates some waste, also since the solar panels, or concentrating solar power technologies, are so massive they take up huge acres of land, leaving little or no space for animal habitats. Solar energy slows down/ stops global warming, due to its zero air pollution trait.

Economic Impacts

Solar energy affects the economy in many ways, it helps reduce our trading shortages and create new jobs. It also benefits the economy by keeping business open during power outages.

The image above demonstrates how many jobs solar energy could increase.

U.S Current Use Of Source

Solar power in the U.S mainly consist of solar power plants, from rooftop photovoltaics. In 2013, the U.S passed 10 GW of installed photovoltaic capacity, with an additional 0.5 GW of concentration solar power. In the twelve months through June 2014, solar power generated 13.83 million megawatt-hours, 0.34% of total US electricity. Solar energy provides 0.01% of the U.S's usage.

Other Countries Using this Source

Countries like Japan, France, Britain, Antarctica, and certain parts of Africa use solar power. Even space!  

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