Fascinating Solar Energy Facts for Children
You might be surprised how much your kids already know about solar energy. Maybe they’ve spotted solar panels on their friend’s roof or have heard about it in the news.
But do they know enough to make the right energy choices when they grow up?
Here are seven facts about solar energy for kids:
1. Where does solar energy come from?
Solar energy comes from the sun. The sun is incredibly powerful, and scientists have worked out how to convert the sunlight into electricity.
2. What is a renewable energy?
Solar power is a renewable energy, which means it won’t run out. The sun will keep going and going and going!
Oil and coal (known as fossil fuels) are non-renewable and will eventually run out.
3. Who invented solar power technology?
The invention of solar power technology was way back in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel. The Frenchman was aged just 19 when he discovered that “shining sunlight onto an electrode submerged in a conductive solution could create an electric current”.
Sounds complicated? This is simply the “photovoltaic” effect used by solar panels today. “Photo” simply means light and “voltaic” means electricity – or “PV” for short.
4. How do solar panels work?
We need to use a little bit of science to answer this one.
When sunlight, or more specifically the photons in the sunlight, hits the material in a solar panel, it causes the silicon and conductors to become ‘excited’ and absorb the photons.
This converts the sunlight into solar power. Another piece of technology, called a solar inverter, then turns this into electricity you can use around the home.
5. How do we use solar energy?
Lots of people use solar panels to generate electricity for their homes. That’s why you can see solar panels on the rooftops of people’s homes.
Houses are not the only things that run on solar power. For example, many big traffic signs you see along the highway are powered by big solar panels. Calculators and spacecraft use solar panels too. Look around and you’ll be surprised at all the things that use solar power!
6. Who is the biggest solar energy producer in the world?
At the moment, Germany is the leader in generating massive amounts of solar energy from solar panels.
Though China is catching up fast with plans to install more and more solar panels around the country.
7. Where is the largest solar power plant in the world?
Some of the biggest solar farms in the world are in the United States – the biggest is in the Mojave Desert.