Solar power is energy from the sun which is used to 'create' electricity to power our homes, etc. The sun sends out light waves which travel through space and reach us, unless something is in the way like the Moon. The light goes through the atmosphere and hits the Earth.

If this light hits a solar cell, or a solar panel, it creates electricity with two layers of semiconductors. One, the n-layer (negative) tries to keep electrons, the other, the positive layer; (the p-layer) tries to get rid of them. When light hits the surface where the two layers meet, electrons pass from the p-layer to the n-layer and out around the electric circuit.

However, the solar energy reaching us is very weak because 1/3 bounces back into space, as well as other things. Therefore the amount falling on one square metre of ground would only power two or three light bulbs.

Now, many of us use solar power some way. Many calculators are powered by solar energy.In some places they use solar power to power cars and also watches; satellites also are solar powered.

Advantages[edit | edit source]

  • In remote places, solar power can be used to power the homes (eg Aussie Outback)
  • Requires no fuel
  • Useful for things with low level electricity needs (eg calculator)

Disadvantages[edit | edit source]

  • The solar cells cost a lot of money
  • Solar power stations cost a lot
  • The sun only shines for a limited time
  • Weather is unreliable (e.g. cloud coverage),
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