the best science on the web about
solar power

Solar Power
Image: iStockphoto.com/visdia

Solar Power

Enough solar energy hits the planet every hour to produce electricity for everyone on Earth for an entire year. But what's the best way to capture and use it?

Soon, you may be using solar energy at night. Someday, a satellite might beam enough of the Sun's energy to Earth to power a city. And before long, those panels may generate more electricity than seemed possible only a few years ago.

NOVA/PBS
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Welcome to Energyville

Welcome to Energyville

Energy: It's what runs the world (not to mention the economy). Can you find the right mix of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewables like wind, solar, and hydropower to provide for your city? More...

Game
Chevron
The Secret of Trees

The Secret of Trees

Fibonacci Sequence + Budding Inventor = Fantastic Discovery. See how a winter walk in the woods helped one remarkable 13-year-old crack a solar energy secret used by trees.
More...

Profile
AMNH
Energy Resources

Energy Resources

The energy to power our homes and vehicles comes from many different sources. From corn biomass and coal mining to geothermal and natural gas power plants, explore them with this photo gallery. More...

Images
National Geographic
Fool’s Gold Catches Eye of Solar Energy Researchers

Fool’s Gold Catches Eye of Solar Energy Researchers

When it comes to making solar energy panels, pyrite may not be a fool’s material. Explore how this abundant mineral could be “gold” for this industry. More...

Profile
Los Angeles Times
Scientist Profile: Solar Vehicle Engineer

Scientist Profile: Solar Vehicle Engineer

Travis Lee's challenge? Build a race car that goes as fast as possible using the least amount of energy. His answer? The Borealis 2, powered by the Sun. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
A Guide to the Energy of the Earth

A Guide to the Energy of the Earth

Examine the many ways energy cycles through our planet and its systems — from the Sun to our food chain to electricity and beyond. More...

Video
TED-Ed/Joshua M. Sneideman
Solar Career Map

Solar Career Map

Interested in solar energy and wondering what jobs are available? Use this tool to explore available careers and how to prepare for them. More...

Interactive
U.S. Department of Energy
Tiny LEGO Brick-Style Studs Make Solar Panels More Efficient

Tiny LEGO Brick-Style Studs Make Solar Panels More Efficient

Getting enough sunlight into solar panels has been a huge challenge. But now scientists may have found a solution, and it's shaped like LEGO bricks. More...

Article
Imperial College London
5 Super-Sized Solar Projects Transforming the Clean Energy Landscape

5 Super-Sized Solar Projects Transforming the Clean Energy Landscape

Solar panels on rooftops are nice, but huge solar power projects generate enough electricity for thousands of homes, and keep thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. More...

Article
U.S. Department of Energy
How Do Solar Panels Work?

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Electric current is a flow of electrons. When sunlight hits a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel, it starts electrons flowing. More...

Interactive
NOVA/PBS
Ivanpah Solar Power Plant Produces Nearly 400 Megawatts

Ivanpah Solar Power Plant Produces Nearly 400 Megawatts

What do you get when you reflect sunlight off about 350,000 mirrors onto boilers? Enough electricity for about 140,000 homes, and some angry environmentalists. More...

Article
San Jose Mercury News
Massive Solar Plant a Stepping Stone for Future Projects

Massive Solar Plant a Stepping Stone for Future Projects

A solar energy project in California’s Mojave Desert will power 140,000 homes and provide renewable energy. Investigate the effect the project has on one native inhabitant: the desert tortoise. More...

Article
NPR
Scientist Profile: Renewable Energy Scientist

Scientist Profile: Renewable Energy Scientist

Growing up in the Navajo Nation, Sandra Begay-Campbell was into math and science. Today, as an engineer, she brings solar and wind energy to people who lack alternatives. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
Solar Basics

Solar Basics

Energy from the sun is the basis for life. It drives photosynthesis. Humans have a number of ways of capturing it as well. Get the facts here. More...

Article
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Solar Boat Harnessed for Research

Solar Boat Harnessed for Research

Solar-powered planes and boats may never quite replace current models, but there are benefits (research and practical) with these newer approaches to older methods of transport. More...

Video
New York Times
Solar Energy

Solar Energy

This article takes you from the interior of the Sun to villages where solar cookers have replaced wood stoves. Click here for an overview of solar power in all its forms. More...

Article
National Geographic
Solar Energy Defenders

Solar Energy Defenders

Why collect solar energy? To zap vampires, of course! At least, that's the reason to do it in this game. More...

Game
Rocketfuel Games
Space-Based Solar Power

Space-Based Solar Power

In space, the Sun is always shining. So why not collect solar energy there and beam it to Earth? Researchers are showing how this could be done. More...

Article
U.S. Department of Energy
The Artificial Leaf

The Artificial Leaf

Solar power is great, until night falls. But now an MIT scientist has figured out how to store the Sun's energy. How? By getting hydrogen from water — in other words, by imitating the leaf. More...

Video
PF Pictures
Top 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Solar Energy

Top 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Solar Energy

"Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on Earth." You'll find 5 more facts like that one here. More...

Article
U.S. Department of Energy
Toxic Land Generates Solar Energy

Toxic Land Generates Solar Energy

What good is polluted land? As New Jersey is showing, it can hold thousands of solar pants and generate lots of clean energy. More...

Video
National Geographic

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