Why is the sun the ultimate source of energy?


Quick Answer

The constant stream of light from the sun is the only source of energy that comes from outside the Earth, and its action creates almost all other energy forms available on the planet.

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Full Answer

Even from 93 million miles away and through the Earth's atmosphere, the solar radiation that hits just one square meter of the Earth has enough power in it to light three 100-watt light bulbs, if it were possible to convert all of that sunlight into electricity.

The energy from the sun also gives warmth to the surface of the Earth, giving power to pressure and heat transfers in ocean currents and weather patterns, and the air that results powers wind turbines. The sun's energy also evaporates water that turns into rain and ends up behind dams, powering hydroelectric plants. Fossil fuels even originate from solar energy; when the sunlight warms a plant, photosynthesis traps some of the energy, keeping it in the form of chemical bonds, which ultimately end up releasing energy when burned or converted into fossil fuels.

The only forms of energy that do not ultimately come from solar power are nuclear energy that relies on long-buried radioactive elements, geothermal heating that relies on the Earth's own heat and tidal power generated from the orbit of the moon.

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