Solar heating

Solar energy is used to generate electricity and to produce hot water. Solar energy is energy released by nuclear fusion in the Sun.

Solar cells

Solar-powered ticket machine
A solar-powered ticket machine

Solar cells are devices that convert light energy directly into electrical energy. You may have seen small solar cells in calculators. Larger arrays of solar cells are used to power road signs in remote areas, and even larger arrays are used to power satellites in orbit around Earth.

Advantages

  • Solar energy is a renewable energy resource and there are no fuel costs.
  • No harmful polluting gases are produced.

Disadvantages

  • Solar cells are expensive and inefficient, so the cost of their electricity is high.
  • Solar cells do not work at night.