Have you ever glanced up at the sun and wondered what it is capable of doing? The sun is a very powerful resource, and is capable of doing a variety of things. One of the sun’s many capabilities is producing energy. This energy is called solar energy, which is the energy I have chosen to research. As you will read later on, solar energy can be very useful.
Some of the first people to discover solar energy were the Greek and Romans. They built houses in a way that made use of the sun’s ability to light and heat spaces. For example, Romans would cover building openings with glass in order to store the heat from the sun. Solar energy has been in use for as far back as 7th century B.C. During this time, people used magnifying glasses to trap heat from the sun, which resulted in wood catching on fire.
Solar energy is used everywhere, but is more popularly found in sunny areas. Solar energy comes from the sun, so places with an immense amount of sunlight will produce more solar energy than areas with little sunlight.
Solar energy can be used to heat water in homes, buildings, and swimming pools, as well as to heat spaces inside greenhouses, homes, and buildings. For example, take a look at a solar home. Solar homes are covered in solar collectors, which contain dark-colored metal plates. The plates absorb sunlight and change it into heat. When air flows through the collectors, it is warmed by this heat. The warm air is then distributed throughout the house, just as it would be if you were using an ordinary furnace system.
The process by which the hydrogen atoms in the sun’s core combine to form helium and generate energy is called nuclear fusion. The sun’s high temperature and pressure cause hydrogen atoms to come apart and their nuclei to merge. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse to become one helium atom. The helium atom contains less mass than the four atoms that fused, so some matter is lost. This lost matter is released into space as radiant energy.
Solar energy has changed life significantly. Back in the day, people had to use candles and lanterns...