The year 2020 saw unprecedented numbers of solar-powered homes in the USA. The total installed capacity was large enough to power 17.7 million homes!

But exactly what is solar power? How does it work?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to find out. Here’s a simple explanation of solar power and what it has to offer you.

What Is Solar Power?

If you’re wondering, “What is solar power?” the answer is quite simple: it’s energy harnessed from the sun. One of the best things about solar power is that it’s an endless source of energy.

…Well, until the sun burns out, that is.

Solar power is what is known as a “renewable energy” source. This means it won’t run out. Unlike fossil fuels, there’s no cap on the amount of solar energy mankind can harvest.

Did you know that over 173,000 terawatts of solar energy hit the earth’s surface at any moment? That’s over 10,000 times the amount of energy the whole earth could ever need.

Solar power is also known as a green energy source. This basically means that it’s a source of energy that doesn’t harm the earth.

Think about the gasoline or fuels you use to power your car, camper, or gas stove. Each time you drive your car or turn on your gas-powered stove, harmful gases are emitted that gradually wear on the earth’s protective atmosphere.

These energy sources are helpful in powering our lives. But, they are harmful to our earth, and to us, in the long run. Green energy sources like solar power do no damage to the earth’s atmosphere when used to power things like the lights in your home or an electric-powered vehicle.

The pros and cons of solar power are hard to weigh when you consider the many benefits that solar power has to offer.

How Does Solar Power Work?

Even those with solar-powered homes or cars are sometimes unsure how solar power works. It’s not as complex as you may think!

The sun is a giant nuclear reactor. Every second, it sends tiny particles of energy to earth. These are called photons.

Every single hour, enough photons hit the surface of the earth. Enough photons hit the earth, in one hour, to theoretically power the entire globe for an entire year!

Things like solar panels work to capture those photons so they don’t hit the earth’s surface and become wasted energy. Once the photons enter the solar panels, they are converted into usable energy sources like electricity.

The International Energy Agency shows solar power as one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the world for the last several years. With all the benefits and power of solar, it’s no wonder why.

How Solar Power Affects You

What is solar power? It’s a purely natural way to power the needs of billions the globe over. It’s a way to provide electricity, power, and other needs to people without harming the planet.

For more fascinating science-related articles, browse the Tech portion of our blog.

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