One fact for kids about solar energy is that it is energy harvested from the sun. When the sun's rays, also known as solar radiation, reach the Earth, the energy is converted using appropriate technology into heat and electricity.
Solar energy is used to heat water in homes, buildings and swimming pools. It is also used to heat fluid to high temperatures so a turbine can turn and generate electricity. Solar cells are grouped together in panels that change sunlight into electricity. Smaller solar cells are found in some watches or calculators, while larger cells power homes. Large power plants that utilize solar cell generators can provide power to several acres of buildings and homes.
Solar energy does not create pollution in the air or in the water, and it does not emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. However, it is limited by weather conditions, time of year and location, which determine how much sunlight reaches the surface of the Earth. Many cells are needed in order to convert energy, which usually requires a large surface area. Some solar thermal systems use hazardous fluids to transfer the sunlight into heat and must be properly disposed of when they are no longer useful.