For many years, people considered the energy they bought from their local power grid to be natural, normal energy—it was convenient, relatively affordable, and readily available. These days, we’re coming to understand that there’s an energy source far more natural and normal than what electric plants produce. That energy is the sun, which produces solar energy.
Getting to know the amazing sun
The sun is comprised mostly of hot hydrogen gas, with its core being the hottest part. Nuclear fusion—the compression and fusion of hydrogen atoms—is what produces the gigantic volume of energy that measures more than 27 million degrees Fahrenheit at the core of the sun before radiating up to the sun’s surface and out into the solar system.
NASA estimates that the sun is 4.5 billion years old, yet year after year, century after century, it keeps on producing a massive amount of stable energy that only recently we’ve learned to harness and use to power our homes.
How solar energy is produced
Photons in the sun’s energy make the 92-million-mile trip to the earth and are absorbed by solar panels, like the ones you see on homes and businesses. Inside the panels, the photons cause electrons to separate from their atoms and create direct current (DC) energy. A device called an inverter then transforms DC power into the alternating current we use as electricity.
The electricity produced by solar panels enters our homes and businesses the same way electricity from the local power grid does. The difference is, sun-generated energy is a clean and pure energy, unlike energy produced in electric plants, which continue to push huge amounts of pollutants into our environment every year.
It’s not surprising that someone would eventually find a way to use the sun’s energy for more than heating our planet. That someone was a 19-year-old French physicist named A.E. Becquerel, who discovered the “photovoltaic effect” that led to what we know today as solar energy.
Ask your solar provider about the benefits of going solar and tap into clean, everlasting energy from the part of the universe aptly named the solar system.
Download our eBook, Solar for People in a Hurry, to learn more about how you can save with your very own solar panel system!