THE sun has produced energy for billions of years. Solar energy is the sun’s rays (solar radiation) that reach the Earth. Solar energy is free and its supplies are unlimited. Using solar energy produces no air or water pollution but does have some indirect impacts on the environment in the manufacture of technologies such as solar cells that convert that energy to electricity.
In the 1830s, the British astronomer, John Herschel, used a solar thermal collector box (a device that absorbs sunlight to collect heat) to cook food during an expedition to Africa. Today, people use the sun’s energy for lots of things.
Solar energy can be converted to:
Solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways:
The major disadvantages of solar energy are: