What is Solar Power? How Does it Work?

The sun’s energy is what is known as radiant energy. The sun itself produces radiant energy through the process of nuclear fusion. Within the sun’s core intense heat and pressure cause helium and hydrogen atoms to fuse during this process some heat is lost out into space.

Although through the process of nuclear fusion it takes millions of years for the energy from the core to reach the sun’s surface it takes an amazing 8 minutes for the solar energy to travel the 93 million miles and be felt on planet earth (solar energy, 2009).

Human beings have been reflecting and refracting the sun for their own purposes since the 7th century BCE. Simple magnifying glasses were used to concentrate the rays of the sun for heating water and starting fires.

Over 100 years ago French scientists used heat from a solar collector to power a stem engine. One of the simplest examples of a solar collector is your very own car. Sunlight enters the car’s interior through the windows and is absorbed by the fabric on the seats and the carpeting.

Darker colors hold more heat, I’m sure you have noticed that not only is your car’s interior hotter during summer months but also that cars with black or dark fabric interiors are even hotter than cars with light colored interiors.

There are many ways to take advantage of the energy the sun radiates and harness it for the power we need to run our appliances or even our cars.

It’s a little known fact that the sun radiates more energy in one second than humans have used since the beginning of time. It almost makes a person feel guilty, all that power going to waste. Let’s think about the many ways there are to collect, store, and use the sun’s radiant energy.

Basically solar energy can be used in both passive and active manners. An active solar home uses mechanical devices such as solar panels, wiring, and batteries to collect the sun’s power, convert it to voltage and store it for future use.

A passive solar home makes use of the sun by positioning the home or certain windows in such a way that they collect sunlight all day and then sometimes special shades are drawn over the windows to keep the heat inside the home at night.

The sun has been generating life on earth for millions of years. Human beings discovered it’s powerful uses early in their development. As humanity grows and develops it stands to reason that we should find more and better ways of using the radiant power that exists all around us.

Not only is it healthier for the planet it is healthier for us and our children. One thing that really needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that a certain percentage of the sun’s energy is what evaporates the water in lakes and rivers, by harnessing more of the power the sun we may also be able to keep more moisture on the planet; a win, win!

Advantages of Solar Power

There are a lot of great advantages to installing solar power. This is because the sun’s energy is a great alternative to fossil fuels. Of course, this is only one of the many reasons you should consider solar power for homes.

Good Return On Investment

In the beginning you may find that the panels and their accessories are quite expensive. However, since the sun’s energy is widely available for free, you will end up saving money in the long run.

This is when you will begin to see a good return on your investment. Not only will you be saving money but you can also sell excess electricity. Furthermore, the government also offers a 20 percent to 30 percent rebate upon your initial purchase, which will make this technology even more affordable.


This technology is continuing to develop. As it does, the financial costs of solar panels are gradually falling. This means they will eventually become much more attainable for the average consumer.

On the other hand, the prices of fossil fuels are continuing to rise. For this reason, solar energy is becoming even more cost efficient. This is one of the main advantages to using solar energy.

Low Maintenance Requirements

Besides the fact that you will be helping to eliminate harmful environmental pollution, solar energy also doesn’t contribute to noise pollution. This is because solar energy is absorbed in complete silence since the panels are not reliant upon noisy generators or motors. They also don’t have any moving parts. Therefore, they only require occasional maintenance or periodic inspection. Usually you can go for decades without them costing you any more money.

Health Benefits

Solar panels do not produce smog, acid rain, global warming or any other type of pollution that fossil fuels produce. Therefore, they are not harmful to plants, animals or humans. This is very different from fossil fuels that can contribute to respiratory diseases and impaired eyesight. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to shift to solar energy.


There is no question that we need to make a major shift in how we power our homes. You will definitely find a lot of great advantages to using solar energy. Therefore, it shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of the high initial cost of installing the solar energy panels. Instead, you should definitely take some time to consider it for yourself.