How does solar power work?

How does solar power work?

Answer

Most electricity production is created when a material, like coal or natural gas, is burned. Usually, this is done to boil water to make steam, which turns a turbine connected to a generator. This process turns that thermal energy into mechanical energy into electrical energy. That’s a lot of steps! Solar power uses photons (or light particles) to manipulate materials inside of a photovoltaic cell. The photons bump electrons out of their molecules and those electrons travel to a conductive material, like copper, to make electricity. A benefit of solar PV is that the power produced is often used on or very near the site of production, meaning that less energy is lost traveling across long transmission lines. For more information – check out this TED Ed video.


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