Scientists have known for many years that the sun emits enormous amounts of energy that, if captured, could serve as a virtually unlimited source of power. Now with new technology and manufacturing techniques, solar energy is becoming more readily available and more affordable.
Solar energy is contained in the sun's rays that strike the Earth each day. This energy helps make life on our planet possible by heating the Earth's surface and providing light during the daylight hours. Energy produced by sunlight can be harnessed to create electric power and to perform other tasks.
What Are Photovoltaic Cells?
Photovoltaic cells are the most common method for capturing the sun's energy. Made from materials such as silicon, they convert photons from the sun's rays directly into electrons to produce an electric current. These cells are wired together to form solar panels. Solar panels are linked together in a circuit to form an array, which is mounted on rooftops or in open spaces to provide maximum exposure to the sun. In recent years, improvements in efficiency of cells and mass manufacturing have lowered the cost of producing solar electricity.